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and tbeyni0sis» 
sinewa Country 
with Additional 
Ibl story of tk 
®(il SettUr?* 

Samuel <Binger 

Yotir» Truly. SAM GINGKK. 





AND the: 


"U^itH an Additional History of tHe 


Firom tHe First to tHe Presei\t.i 

I ■ 



1905 Edition. 




That some mistakes will occur, as to time 
and place, is to be expected, especially when the 
reader is informed that the people from whom I 
have sought information in rej^ard to the events 
recorded in the first part of the book, dilfer very 
materially in their recollections of the events, 
both as to time and place. In the second part I 
know whereof I write, in almost every thinj^" 
therein recorded. As to g-rammatical construc- 
tion and error, I wish to say that I never studied 
grammar a moment in my life, and don't know an 
adverb or preposition from the Aurora Borealis. 
About all the school education I ever received 
was two or three terms in the public schools 
of fifty years ago, in the village of New Paris. 
Ohio, where the last and best of mj^ school mas- 
ters, and one whose memory I cherish, was Nim- 
^ rod Johnson, father of our brilliant 3'oung mem- 
V ber of Congress, H. U. Johnson. One advantage 
^ the reader may enjoy is the reflection that he is 
^ reading actual fact and not mere fiction. Though 
^ recorded in my own peculiar style, if I should un- 
0^ intentionally give some slight offense to any one, 
they have the prlvilige to call on us and apologize. 
!^ The Reminiscences were not intended for a 

^ book at first, but after their publication in the 
l/N R'idgeville News, there was such a demand for 
,' them, that, on the suggestion of Oscar A. White, 
"^ the editor, and the urgent request of many friends, 
I concluded to write the second part and have 
^ them published in book form. In this second 
P edition we add a brief sketch of the Old Settlers 
Jj meetings from the first. So you have them. If 
they should create a hearty laugh now and then. 
^ my object is attained. So -with kindest regards 
^^ for every reader, I am truly yours, 
^ Sam Ginger 



At once there rose so wild a yell, 
From out that dark and narrow dell. 
As if all the angels from Heaven that fell, 
Had pealed the banner cry of hell. — Rush. 

Just one hundred years ag"o from last Novem- 
ber 4th, or properly speakinj,'', Nov. 4tli, 1791, 
there was encamped on a knoll or risin<^ piece of 
ground on the bank of the Wabash River, now 
the site of the beautiful village of Ft Recover}'', 
twenty miles from Ridgeville, an army of two 
thousand regulars and about one thousand of un- 
drilled, untamed, untried irregulars, all under com- 
mand of General Arthur St. Clair, a brave officer 
and gallant leader who knew how to lead his forces 
against a civilized enemy, but who knew about 
as much of fighting the cunning red man as John 
Smith knows about the Bland Silver bill or the 
Reciprocity of the Plumed Knight. St. Clair had 
been sent with this little army into the ver\' 
heart of the wilderness to conquer and bring 
under subjection the several tribes of Indians— 
among them the bloody Potawatomies. Miamies, 
Wyandottes, Chippewas and others, under the 
leadership of such famous chiefs as Little Turtle. 
LaFontaine, Rushville and others fully as war- 
like, brave and cunning' as they. This little army 
had penetrated the wilderness thus far without 
any serious disaster; building forts and block 
houses as they moved deeper and deeper into the 
forests, that they might have a place to fall back 
to in case of defeat or lack of supplies or other 

8 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

necessities. All had f,^one well thus far. and our 
little army had almost despaired a brush, as they 
called it, with the Indians. It is said, in exten- 
uation of what followed, that St. Clair was suf- 
ferinj,' from an attack of rheumatism, and was 
hardly able to walk, much less mount a horse 
and take command in such a crisis. The fact is, 
I>robably, that bein{,^ so lonjf without meeting 
hostile Indians, the little army became careless 
and unconcerned. The very situation the red 
man was waitinj.,'" for. be this as it may, came just 
at daybreak and just as the ^^uard was beinj^' re 
lieved. The terrible warwhoop that be^nns this 
chapter, and a sound heard never forj,''otten, was 
heard on all sides at once. A j^^reat many of the 
tired .soldiers were yet sleeping soundly, while 
others were cooking their breakfast: in fact all 
except the guards unarmed. Could the red men 
have selected a better time to begin the massacre? 
I do not intend to describe the battle, if bat- 
tle it might be called, for that is already historj'. 
Let it suffice that time and again the Indians, 
with blood curdling whoops and upraised toma- 
hawks, charged right into the midst of the camp. 
Again and again, were they driven back by heroic 
men, fighting for their very lives, and again 
would they return to the charge more determined 
and bloody than ever, and as might be expected, 
that which for a brief time to the dignity 
of a battle became a v.efeat-^a rout. ruin, murder, 
slaughter. Many of the men were tomahawked 
in their tents without tiring a gun; resistance 
seemed of no more use, and then every man, 
especially the irregulars, tried to save his own 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Counfry 9 

life; tlie nearest fort, GreenvilJe, twelve or fif- 
teen miles away, became the only hope. 

The deeds of lieroism, of self-sacrifice for the 
lives of others on that terrible retreat, is a his- 
tory of itself. Many were killed as they ran, re- 
fusing- even to tig-ht for their lives. How many 
reached the fort at Greenville was never exactly 
known, but when the pursuit stopped and the 
Indians returned to the real enjoyment of the 
tight (scalping :ind tomahawking) tliey found 
nine hundred dead and dying white men; heroes 
who had lain down their lives at the command 
and through the incompetency of their leaders, 
as many, very many, have done in later years. 
An old squaw speaking of this many years later, 
said she became so tired scalping white men that 
she had lo lay down the knife and rest. The loss 
of life to the Indians was never known; but of 
course was comparatively small. 

The defeat of St. Clair was a crushing- blow, 
but at last it cost the red men dearly. Another 
expedition was immediately sent against the In- 
dians under the command of Gen. Anthony 
Wayne — Mad Anthony as he was familiarly 
called — who perfectly understood their mode of 
Warfare, and he so thoroughly whipped and 
cowed them that they sued for peace, which 
treaty w^as ratified at Greenville in 179.5. So 
afraid had the Indians become of Wayne that he 
made them believe that if they again took up the 
tomahawk, he would arise from the grave, and 
exterminate the last living red man, and it is 
needless to say they never broke the contract, 
-but stood solemnly b}' and saw the paleface rob 

to Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

him; saw him clear, plow, plant, and reap ground 
that for {^venerations had been a home for his an 
cestors; where he had killed game, trapped the 
fur, raised the maize that fed and clothed his 
children, bought his powder and his lead. Poor 
Lo; you are not in it. However, our government 
would not do that way now. We are more civi- 
lized and Christianized and under no circumstan- 
ces would we rob or cheat the poor ignorant red 
man: wf)uld weV Perish the thought. 

By the Greenville treaty the Indians ceded 
to the government all the land lying east and 
south of a line beginning at the mouth of the 
Cuj'ahoga River running thence west to Ft. Re- 
covery, thence in a south westerly direction to 
the Ohio River, intersecting that river at a point 
opposite the Kentucky River. 

Comparatively few know it, but nearly every 
man and woman in Ridgeville cross that famous 
historical line, daily. It enters Ridgeville from 
the farm of Hannah Ward, crosses Main street 
west of the G. R. * I. R. R., the lots of James, 
Cunningham and Richards, angling^ across the 
old cemetery, the lot of Eva Ginger on corner 
of Race and Second Street, through Hawthorne's 
Restaurant, the Bank, the McKew grove, thence 
north-east to Ft. Recovery. 

We have several relics from the field of St. 
Clair's defeat presented to my family by Comrade 
John M. Clum. of Ft. Recovery: among them a 
bayonet, broken Indian tomahawl<. gun lock, 
bullets, etc. 

At that time the Mississinewa countrj' where 
Ridgeville now stands, was known as the best 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 1 1 

liuntinf^, trapping' and tisliinj^' {^rounds in the 
north-west, and it was natural to suppose that a 
great many of these scattered tribes of Indians 
would seek the Mississinewa as their future 
homes. Mississinewa in the Miami tong"ue means 
clear running water; and it is with these Indians, 
g"ood and bad, and the few white settlers that 
came and settled among them, that the writer 
proposes to deal. 


Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, 
nor his wife, nor his man-servant, nor his 
maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass. nor 
anything that is thy neighbor's. 


Amonj^ the Indians tliat made the Mi.ssissin- 
ewa their home, was a bad Indian named Flem- 
inj^. This particular red man was not only feared 
and dreaded by the wliites, but the Indians them- 
selves felt more safe with their lives and proper- 
ty when Fleminj; was away from them. He was 
a perfect tiend for tire water and when bj' any 
means he could g^et it, he became a ferocious 
devil, and had killed one or two Indians and no 
telling' how many white men. but had, through 
his superior cunning managed t(j escape the laws 
of both the red men and the statutes of the white 
men, by a plea of self defense, justitiable homi- 
cide, or some other lucky circumstance. 

It was the custom of the Indians, when they 
saw that Fleming was getting- about drunk 
enough to be boisterous and dangerous, for three 
or four of the stoutest of them to jumj) uj)on him 
unawares, and tie him head and heel, take away 
his knife and tomahawk and then bind him to a 
tree, where he staid until he was Kober and i)rom- 
ised to be a good "Injun." 

Now it so happened that there was a mulatto, 
named Smith (probably a dcscendent of Poca- 
hontas' John) who had married an Indian woman 
or squaw, and was not very well liked by -the red 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 13 

man in general, and cordially hated by Fleming 
in particular. And, moreover, to complicate the 
situation, this untutored savage, not having the 
benefit of Christian civilization, and of course 
never having heard of the ten commandments, 
did covet his neighbor's wife, and had a strong 
hankering for an excellent Hint-lock rifle that 
Smith owned and possessed. 

Mrs. Smith, poor unenlightened heathen, not 
being one of the Pour Hundred, and knowing 
little of the custom of civilized society, was not 
averse to being coveted by one of her own race, 
and one vastly superior to her "nigger" husband. 
Of course such things do not happen in these 
times; so much for our education. It would be 
rare indeed to find a covetous man in this respect 
today, or a woman that would harbor such a 
thought. But bear in mind that these people 
were nothing but savages and had no teacher 
but nature in these matters. 

Well, as might be expected, this covetous In- 
dian began to devise wa3^s and means by which 
he might possess this dusky squaw, and have, 
hold and keep her as his very own. In order to 
succeed in this precarious and doubtful enterprise, 
it was necessary to have the assistance of the 
woman in the case. So a counsel \vas called with 
Fleming, the Indian, and Mrs. Smith, the squaw, 
the only ones present; even Smith was not invi- 
ted, and the way that Indian and squaw tixed up 
the plan to remove Smith, and allow Fleming to 
possess himself of the wife, rifle, cabin and all 
else pertaining thereto, was worthy of a better 
cause; and for cold blooded villainl}', and shrewd 

14 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

cuiinini^' has rarely been excelled. At this time, 
Smith, or the "niji-is'er" as he was called, lived in 
a lo^' cabin near where Stone Station now is, and 
his only neij^^hbor. iivin^^ in a somewhat lar^'er 
cabin near him, was a white man named Jesse 
Gray, and who will be the hero and the noblest 
Roman of them ail in tlu'Sf Reminiscences later 

Wiien the counsel held by Fleminj^"^ and the 
squaw, adjourned sine die. it was thus arran^^ed: 
Mrs. Smith was to for^'^et that she had left her 
petticoat han^'^ing^ on a bush in front of their 
cabin and in the earU- morning was to ask her 
hubby, Mr. Smith, to please step out and pet it 
for her, while the wily Fleming was laying con- 
cealed behind a log, a nice rifle shot distance, 
with his trusty flint lock pointed directly towards 
Smith's cabin. This part of the plot was all 
right so far: but the wisest schemes of men and 
mice, gang aft aglee. The petticoat was there, 
and Fleming the Indian, and the rifle was there, 
the sfjuaw was there, and the "Nigger" was 
there. Just as the first, faint streaks of the 
morning sun shone through the tops of the maples, 
Smith stepped from his cabin door and stood for 
a moment, taking in the beauties of the spring 
morn, and listenint: to the gobble gobble of the 
wild turkeys, and the song of the hundreds of the 
beautiful birds beginning their morning concert. 
He finally stepped to the bush, raised his hand to 
get the petticoat, but he didn't — 


O, I could play the woman with mine eyes 
and braggart with mine tongue; but front to 
front bring thou this fiend of Scotland, and 
myself; within my sword length set him, 
and if he escape, Heaven forgive him too. 

— Macbeth. 

And why he didn't we will have to g"o back 
to the style of dress worn at that period^ Of 
course some of the older readers will remember 
the flap that embellished the front of the pants 
worn by the men of that day, somewhat resem- 
bling a barn door, only instead of swinging side- 
wise, as. the door, the flap swung outward and 
downward, and was supported at the top with 
two or three large buttons. The man that could 
afford metal buttons was considered one of the 
four hundred, and it so happened that the "nig- 
ger" was the happy owner of a beautiful metalic 
button, pure shining brass, and as large as a half 
dollar. This button supported the flap of Smith's 
pants just above the center of his abdomen. 
Well, what has this button to do with the Indian, 
the nigger, or the squaw, the reader will ask; 
patience, reader, you will see that it has lots to 
do with it. As Smith raised his hand to take the 
rag from the bush his face was turned to the east, 
the morning sun shining on that button, made a 
target so tempting that the Indian could not re- 
sist the temptation to draw a bead on it; although 
it was not the spot to do the nigger to death the 
most speedy, it would do it just as surely; swish — 
bang — Smith saw the flash but could not dodge 

16 Reminiscfn(xa of the Mississinewa Country 

the bullet. It struck that button fair and square; 
Smith spranj^j about six feet in the air, j^ave a 
yell that could be heard in the next county and 
came down, rollintr over, believing of course, 
that he had a bullet hole riijht throu^^h his vitals. 

The Indian, thinking he had done him sure, 
did not exercise the usual caution of the red man, 
in makinjf a sneak away; and the nig"ger about 
that time discovered that he was not dead, raised 
up and started for the cabin door. In so doing^ 
he had a fair view of Fleming, and knew to a 
dead certainty who had shot him. Just then the 
squaw opened the door, rushed out yelling, "Who 
shoot! who shoot!" and when she saw that her 
poor husband was shot (and not killed). her grief 
was pitiable to behold; "Who shoot! who shoot 
Smith!" she repeated, of course having no idea 
who did it. "D— n black coward Fleming," said 
Smith;"Oh no. Flemin' he good Injun he no shoot 
Smithy; he friend to Smithy." They finally got 
into the cabin where Smith took an inventory of 
the damage done by the Indians bullet. He 
found the bullet had glanced from the button, 
passed just under the skin, struck a rib, followed 
the rib around and came out on the back, making 
a very painful, but not dangerous wound. 

When the nigger discovered that he was not 
killed outright, his rage was awful to behold. 
He raved and fairly pawed the earth; swore he 
would load his old flint-lock musket and before 
sundown he would have that d — d Injun Fleming's 
.scalp hanging to his belt. But his .squaw had no 
trouble in persuading him out of the notion; tell- 
ing him it was very wicked and contrary to the 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 11 

law to kill Injuns; and moreover, she was quite 
sure that Plemin^"did not shoot iiim. "Look here 
old woman, don't I done told you it was Flemin, 
didn't I see him sneak awayV" said Smith. 

This settled the squaw for the time beinj^ at 
least, and Smith hu^g-ed the cabin mighty close 
for a week or so, waiting' for his wound to heal, 
in the meantime keeping his weather eye on the 
squaw, for at last, he had begun to tumble, as 
we call it to day. He flatly told Mrs. Smith that 
if she lelt her petticoat on the bush any more she 
might get it- herself; and, moreover, he thought 
there was too much malaria in this flat country 
to be healthy, and they had better move down 
on White Water where there was* less malaria 
and fewer Indians; and in the meantime he would 
consult his old white friend, Jesse Gray, who 
hated all Indians in general, and Fleming in par- 

As Jesse Gray will be a prominent character 
in these Reminiscences, it will be proper to give 
a brief biography of the man so the reader may 
know who and what he was, and how he came to 
be such a bitter and unrelenting enemy of the red 
man. Jesse Gray, at that time a youth of nine- 
teen or twenty, was living with his family, near 
where Fountain City now stands. The family 
consisting of his stepfather, mother, tw^o younger 
brothers and two or three step-brothers and sis- 
ters, the youngest a baby sister a half a 3'earold, 
and Jesse himself the main dependence of the 
family. They w^ere on the best of terms with the 
young Indians; Jesse associated with the young 
Indians so much, that he was an Indian himself 

18 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

in all but hlood and color; he was the equal of the 
best of them, and superior to the most of them in 
tlie use of the ritle. in runninj,'^. jumpin}^, wrestlinjj, 
and in fact in all the athletic sports that the In- 
dian so much deli},'hts in. Even when the writer 
first made his aquaintance. nearly fifty years ago, 
he was then a man of seventy or more, asstrai^rht 
as an arrow and six feet or more in heij^^ht, with 
the eye of an eaf,^le, and walkinjj with tliat cat- 
liiie step common to all pioneers that had to deal 
with the cunning of the red man of the country. 
And as 1 lay on my back in our hunter's camp, a 
boy of twelve or fourteen, on a dark stormy night, 
with the owls hooting and a hundred wolves 
howling and 'snarling around our camp, and list- 
ened to the grand old man recount those thrilling 
tragedies, I would cuddle down a little closer to 
my father, feeling almost as if the bloody savages 
were just ready to swoop down on our camp and 
tomahawk and scalp us. 

As the old man told the story tears would fill 
his eyes, and his voice become husky; although a 
half century had intervened since the occurrences 
he was relating. As stated in a previous chapter, 
at this time this country abounded in fine sugar 
groves, and everybody white or red that could 
own or borrow an iron kettle would engage in 
sugar making in the spring, and the sugar with 
other j)roducts, was shipped down the Mississin- 
ewa, in flat boats and bartered for amunition, 
salt, muslin, blankets, etc. 

Gray's family were busily engaged in this 
sugar making, all unmindful of the terrible fate 
hanging over them. The sap being abundant 

Reminiscences of tlw Mississinewa Country 19 

that spring required their presence day andnif^ht, 
and on this fatal ni;^ht in particular they were all 
present except Jesse, who had been sent to a 
neighbors several miles distant to tny and ^et an 
extra kettle, and would not return till the next 
day, and it was ^ood for him that he was absent. 
It was with extreme reluctance that Jesse con- 
sented to g'o, telling*- his father that he did not 
like the actions of the Indians for some time back, 
but his father hooted at his fears, and bade him 
g"o, telling' him ''We have nothing" to fear from 
the red man; are they not our friends? Did not 
two of their prominent men partake of our hospi- 
tality this very day?" 

Fatal security! still Jesse was not satisfied 
and insisted on leaving his gun with the family; 
but this, too, his father refused, saying, that 
they were about out of meat and he might kill a 
deer on his return home. With a heavy and mis- 
giving heart he left the family. Will he ever see 
them again alive? 

Long before the peep of day next morning 
he was on his way home walking or rather run- 
nings at a rate of speed that a deer might have 
crossed his path within reach of his gun with 
perfect safety; his only desire being to see his 
dear family as he had left them the evening" be- 
fore. But oh! what awful heartlireaks await us 
sometimes in this world of sorrow and uncertain- 
ty; what crushing events may happen in a sin- 
g"le day, yea, within an hour. 

It was just at sunrise when Jesse reach- 
ed a little knoll or rising ground from whence he 
could see the camp, or rather see where the camp 

20 Reminiscenves of the Mississinewa Country 

should be. He paused for a moment almost 
afraid to look; the stillnes of death reig^ned: even 
the morning' songsters seemed to realize that 
something terrible was hajDpening. His faith- 
ful hunting dog "Fleet," who was always wont 
to come running and barking to meet his kind 
master, was nowhere to be seen or heard. This 
simj)le incident was more ominous to the young 
man than all else, but he was forced to look;— 
and where the camp should be, was now a smold 
ering ruin. Could he. dare he go on and look on 
the horrible sight that he instinctively knew 
must greet him there? Yes, go he must, for this 
dreaded uncertainty was worse than death it.self 
and hope still whispered some might be spared. 


2nd. Witch — Fillet of a Fenny snake 

In the caldron boil and bake, 
Eye of newt and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork and blind worm's sting 
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing. 
For a charm of powerful trouble; 
Like a hell broth boil and bubble. 

All — Double, double toil and trouble, 

Fire burn and caldron bubble. — Shakespeare. 

Surely they could not, savages though they 
be, find it in their cruel hearts to murder his 
little innocent sisters! They would not be that 
bloody minded! But he must go on; before he 
started again he leaned against a tree for sup- 
port; he could hear the beating of his heart; his 
knees trembled, and it seemed as if he must sink 
to the ground, but he made one more superhuman 
effort to compose himself, and went forward to. 
that awful scene of destruction, upon which he 
must look, though it killed him. As he started 
he gave a sharp, familiar whistle for his dog, 
feeling that the companionship of that poor dumb 
brute was worth a w^orld to him then; but the 
only answer he received to his call was the echo 
of his own voice. 

A few hasty steps broug'ht him to the spot 
where, only a brief twelve hours before, he had 
left all activity and bustle, but now as silent as 
the grave. One swift, hasty glance showed to 
the 3'oung' man that his worst fears w^ere more 
than realized; every member of his loved famih' 
lay dead before his eyes, and he w^as an orphan 

22 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

indeed: even liis faithful dog lay in the ruins of 
the cam]) half consumed by the tire. 

When the old man told this part of the hor 
rible trajifedy, his eyes tilled with tears and he 
had to stop awhile to weep, thouj^h a half cen- 
tury or more had intervened since the occurrence. 
Is it any wonder, that as the boy stood there 
viewin^^ the awful havoc that at once made him 
an orphan and left him all alone in the world, he 
should become insanely enrat,''ed and be^^in to de- 
vise a plan for revenj^'^eV He knt-eled by the body 
of his mother and baby sister, and rej^^istered a 
solemn oath before hif,'^h Heaven, that henceforth, 
no Indian should cross his path and live. How 
well he kept his vow, "will appear further along 
in these Reminiscences. 

Young Gray at once alarmed the few scatter- 
ing neiL-'hbors who assembled at the Gray resi- 
dence, and with tearful eyes and heavy hearts 
proceeded to bury the murdered victims in the 
best manner possible at that day. A company 
was organized to pursue, and if possible to punish, 
the murderers of the Gray's; but it is needless to 
say it came to naught. Where the Indians came 
from, or of wiiat tlu-y were, it was hard to tell; 
of course every Indian in the neighborhood could 
prove that hr was in his own sugar camp; on 
that night in particular. The sup])osition was 
finally reached that they were a roving band of 
cut throats from the Miami tribe, down on the 
Wabash River, near where Marion now stands. 
But while this brave little company of neighbors 
failed to punish the murderers, young Gray was 
all the more determined, single handed and alone, 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 23 

to hunt them to death. 

One peculiar tliiuj^" tliey could not understand, 
was that tlie (xrays were the only family struck: 
not another person was disturbed. The only 
solution at which they could arrive, was, that 
Gray at sometime, or times had incurred the en- 
mity of the Indians, by beatinj,^ them at their 
j,^ames, and havin*,'- them launched at by onlookers, 
and this was their mode of getting- even. Young- 
Jesse, being trained in the same school, made up 
his mind to take every advantage, fair or foul, to 
revenge the killing of his family. He soon con- 
cluded, however, that he would have to modify 
his first intention to kill indiscriminately, and 
confined himself more particularly to the wiping 
out of those Indians that had done him such great 
wrong, and for this purpose he must have some 
friends among the Indians; for he wisely conclu- 
ded that the murders were known to some of the 
Indians camped on the Mississinewa and that by 
degrees he could wring the secret from them one 
way or another. 

By his superior cunning- and skill, it did not 
take him long to get the superstitious reds in 
mortal dread of the pale face hunter, who in spite 
of their ever watchful eye, and more watchful 
dogs, would be standing right in the midst of 
them, in front of their wigwams wiiile they were 
quietly smoking their pipes. Here he would be, 
all of a sudden, as if he had descended from the 
sky, with the palm of his hand turned toward 
them, and the friendly greeting, "How'' which at 
once made him an honored g'uest. Little by little, 
by hunting with them, by giving them tobacco, 
beads, etc., he managed to find out the murderers 
to be a band of six, from the Miamis; down the 

24 Rvmmiscetwea of the Mississinewa Cmintry 

river and that this red devil, Fleminj^'^. althou},'h 
not in the massacre himself, had been the rulinj^ 
spirit in the plot. This was all yoiin^f Gray 
wished to know and at once set about his reven^fe. 
It is well for the rfadt-r to remember that the law 
was equally strict aj^Minst killin;.j an Indian or 
white man: and, in tact it was more tireaded, 
for tt) kill an Indian it was likely to brin^f 
<lown swift vetif^t-ance on the whole settlement; 
blood for blood wat> the Indian's only creed. 

It was noticed by his neij^^libors that Jesse 
would pr«'|iare a lar«^e amount of ))ow(ltr and 
bullets and start off on a iuint. never tellintj any 
one where he was jcoins^ or what kind of tjame he 
was ^oinj^'" to hunt. On tht-se trips he would be 
f^one for months; at other times only a few weeks, 
but always soon after his return, word would 
reach the settlement that an Indian or two was 
found dead, with a bullet hole throuf^h his heart 
or brain. Of course some of the Indians that 
knew him well, had a strong suspicion that Gray 
was the avenj^fer, but so afraid of Gray were they, 
that they kept their own council, only wishinj,'' 
that they mij^'ht not j^'^ain his enmity. 

One of the tricks that he played on the super- 
stitious reds, was, that when they visited his 
camp, Jesse while cookin}^'^ the meal would set 
down by the boilin;.,'' pot and m\imble over some 
{^■ibberish and then tell them that all true friends 
could eat to their satisfacti<m; but if a treacher- 
ous enemy ate of the food it would make him very 
sick, and that he C(juld never more have luck 
with the yun. liy these tricks, and by invaria- 
bly keeping- faith with them, he made many true 
friends amonf.^ them. 

In the meantitne .lesse had married the wo 
man of his choice, and had made considerable 
headway cle.nrin},^ up his farm. With the excep- 
tion of his ])eriodical trips down the river on the 
hunt, he was considered a very ordinary man. 


The law of self-preservation is higher than 
all law, and a man may resort to it, even to ' 

the taking of the life of another, in the de- 
fense of himself or family. — Rkviskd Statutes. 

• We will not attempt to follow liiin throuj^h 
all liis thrilling- adventures with the red man, but 
let it suftice that in ten years or less not a 
single Indian connected with the killing of his 
family was alive^ except Fleming, the plotter, 
and Gray was hot on his trail, but the wily sav- 
age, Ifnowing that Gray was after him, always 
managed to lay very low when he heard that 
Gray was on the war-path. He had sent word to 
Gray that he would kill him on sight but he was 
careful not to get him in sight. Things were in 
about this condition when the shooting of the 
"nigger" occurred. Gray, as before stated, had 
built a cabin near his black neighbor, about four 
miles south of where Ridgeville now stands, and 
he and Smith were fast friends in their common 
cause against the red man. 

In the meantime, the country along- the Miss- 
issinewa had rapidly been settled. Joab Ward 
had settled here and cleared up a farm, ]ilanted 
an orchard, and was preparing his residence, the 
house where Sherman Brooks now lives, on the 
bank of the river just south of town. The Llew- 
ellyns had settled where Mrs. Elmira McKew 
now lives, and several other white families had 
settled along the river. This did not suit the In- 
dians, they considered it an encroachment on 

26 Reminiscences of the Missiasinewa Country 

their luintin*^ {^^rounds; consequently, tliey were 
rather imjuulent and aj^j^ressive, and left no 
oj>l)ortunity to j^et up a quarrel with the whites: 
but the settlers knowinj^ the danj^er of getting 
into serious trouble with the reds, had to grin 
and bear it as best the}' could. 

However, when an Indian becaine too abu- 
sive, and was considered danj^erous the few set- 
tlers would meet and talk tln' matter over and 
soon thereafter Jesse Gray would take one of 
those periodical hunts, and that particular bad 
Indian would be missed. It was supposed that 
he had g"one where there was more {^f^ame: to the 
happy huntinj,'" <,^r()und probably; at least he never 
came back. I may stop here to say, that one of 
the peculiarities of these old timers, was, that 
they never would say, plainly, that they had 
wiped out an Indian, but always stopped short 
by sayini^^, "I left the Indian here" or "I never 
saw him aj^^ain: he must have left the country." 
etc. I can only account for this on the ;,'round 
that as the law was very severe for killing- a red 
man, they had from necessity learned, that a 
still ton^^ue makes a wise head. 

I remember on one occasion that (Jrand- 
father Ward was tellinj^^ me about a bad, insolent 
Indian who was a thief, and would rob every trap 
he could find with a mink or a coon in it and 
when he accused him of the theft he j^'^ot heaj) 
mad and swore in bad En^jlish that he would kill 
white man who called him thief. Some time 
after that quarrel, Joab tol^ me he was huntinj^f 
on this side of the river up about the north-west 
corner of the corporation line now, when he dis- 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 27 

covered tliis same Indian slippin<^ tlirouf^h the 
woods. He did not think it necessary to inform 
the Indian of his presence just then, especially 
as he saw the Indian take from the trap a larf^e 
mink; "But" said Joab "he never skinned that 
mink, nor robbed another trap for me or any one 
else, " and only a few years ajjfo a ^un barrel was 
plowed up, just about the place he described to 
me and I have that same \fwx\ barrel in my posses- 
sion at present. 

Once in talkinfj^ with Grandfather Ward about 
the Indian, I said "Well, Grandfather, I suppose 
there are some good, lionest Indians". "Yes"' he 
said and after a considerable pause, added, "dead 
ones". Indeed it was g-enerally understood that 
the red man was treacherous and when his avow- 
als and eternal friendship were the most profuse, 
then was he the most to be feared. But had be 
not even learned this from his pale faced brother? 
Time and again had he not been driven from his 
best hunting- grounds, cheated out of his best 
land, and even his family murdered by the treach- 
erous white man? How is it today? Is he not 
still robbed and forced to leave the land he loves, 
the only home he has ever known, and then if he 
happens to object to this treatment and stand up 
for his rights, does not this big government send 
out a force of well drilled and equipped soldiers 
and slaughter them indiscriminately, even to 
their women and children? As at Wounded Knee, 
S. D. How long, oh how long, will this govern- 
ment that boasts of the highest civilization on 
earth, stand by and see this terrible wrong con- 
tinued? How long will it be until the Indian, 

28 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

like the buffalo, will live only in history? 

But pardon this digression. I have sjioken 
of the family of Lleweilyn's, that lived where 
Mrs. Almira McKew now lives. The head of the 
family was Mesliac Llewellyn, and his oldest 
three sons Shadrach, Meshac and Abedniy^o, and 
several youn/^'er sons and daughters It seemed 
that from some cause, probably from their Wm. 
Penn relij^^ion. Quakers, they were very friendly 
to the Indians, which caused some of the old set- 
tlers and especially the Indian haters among 
them, to call the Llewellyn's, Tories. With 
what reason 1 could not understand; but certain 
it i-^, that the Llewellyn home was a ^jreat place 
for the Indians to assemble and hold their j>ow- 
wows, etc., and when an Indian was seriously 
sick, or danj^erously wounded, he found a readj* 
welcome at the Llewellyn's. 

Notwithstandinj^" the friendship existinj.i' be- 
tween the Llewellyn's and the Indians, one of 
the Llewellyn boys shot and killed an Indian, 
amonj.: the very first troubles that e.xisted be- 
tween the two races. It happened thus: —It 
seems that Shad Llewellyn was a little olT occas- 
ionly owin}.,'' to some kind of tits to which he was 
subject, and the Indians knowinj.,'' this, would 
have some fun with him at his expense when they 
would catch him away from home, although they 
had repeatedly been told that it was dangerous 
sport by the older Indians, and it so proved one 
day in the fall huntiii},' lime. 

Shad had taken down his flint lock from over 
the door, picked the Hint, and as he was return- 
ing, coming down the river bank he saw two In- 

ReminiHcences of the Mississinewa Country 29 

dians on the opposite side of the river Just this 
side of the Burket Pierce farm, alon^ the h'\u;h 
bluff bank which most of my readers are familiar 
with. The Indians concluded that would be a ^ood 
time to g"ive Shad a j^^ood scare, and they com- 
menced jumpin}^'" behind trees and pointin}^^ and 
snappinj^- their j^uns at him. It did not take 
Shad a minute to tumble; he Ivnew the Indian 
character to a dot, and althoug^h a little oft' in 
some respects was no coward. He also took a 
tree, examined his gun to see if she was all ri<,'"ht 
and waited for a shot. The Indians thinking 
they had scared him so badly he could not shoot, 
one of them tried to get to another tree where he 
might see better the result of the scare; in doing 
this he exjjosed himself for a moment but that 
moment was fatal; ''bang!" a wreath of smoke 
and a hunter getting away on the other side of 
the river was what he saw when he stepped out 
to see what had become of his partner. 

Looking over a log a few feet away there he 
lay as dead as a clam with a bullet through his 
heart; he soon gave the alarm and a lot of Indians 
assembled and buried him right where he fell. 
Some of the more warlike reds tried to make 
trouble about it but the older men said he had on- 
ly received what he deserved, as he had Iteen 
warned not to molest Shad; and moreover, until 
this day the Indian has a supreme dread of having 
trouble with a person that is insane or queer in 
upper story. 

In proof of this statement it is related that a 
party of six of Fremont's men in crossing the 
Rocky Mountains on his first trip had got lost 

30 Reminiacencea qf the Mississinewa Country 

from the main body, and wandered around until 
their provisions were j^one and two of them had 
perished from starvation and exposure, and the 
rest had i^iven up to die; they were sittio}^^ hud- 
dled around a few smokin^^ embers, reduced to 
t,Mbl)erin}^ idiots when they were f(»und by a body 
of Camanclie Indians wlio were the most inveter- 
ate enemies of the whites and never h)st an 
opportunity to tomahawk and scalp any white 
man or woman that fell into their jiower, but on 
discoverinj,^ the condition of these wretched 
I)eople, they not only spared them but divided 
their dried buffalo and venison with them, built 
them a tire and left them to their fate, where 
they were found a few days afterwards by their 
friends, and restored to life and health, to kill 
perhaps at some time in the future the very men 
that had spared them in their fi^reat extremity. 
Many of my readers will remember of seein*,*^ the 
{^rave of Shad Llewellyn's Indian about a mile or 
so uj) the river, and if any should doubt the cor- 
rectness of the story, step into Ur. Smith's ottice 
in Winchester and see the skeleton «>t that same 


The times have been, that when the brains 
were out, the man would die and there 
an end. But now they rise aj^ain with 
twenty mortal murders on their crowns. 

— Macbeth. 

The killing" of tlie Llewellyn Indian Ijrinj^s 
us back to the shootinj,^ of Smith, by Fleming-, 
the devil of all Indian.s, and to the beginning of 
one of the most thrilling' Indian adventures that 
ever occurred in the Mississinewa countr3^ 

As stated before, the neg-ro, soon as he 
found it safe and advisable, started of¥ to find 
and counsel his friend Gray; and when at last he 
did meet him he told him about his close call 
from Fleming- 's and the squaw's plot to murder 
him. He also told him that while Fleming- 
breathed, neither of their lives were secure for 
an hour. Gray told Smith that he was well 
aware of the Indian's hatred of himself, and that 
he was just waiting- for an opportunity to kill 
him on sight; and in the -meantime for him 
(Smith) to conceal himself in a certain thicket 
near his house, where Fleming" and the squaw were 
in the habit of meeting- and holding: their pow- 
wows, etc., etc., and to be sure that his gun was 
in the best of order for sure fire, and when the 
Indian made his appearance put a bullet hole 
rig-ht throug-h his cowardly heart. But the negro 
could not see it in that light, and told Jesse that 
he would rather part with his squaw. 

It is said that all things come to him who 

.92 Reminiscence of the Missisainewa Country 

has the patience to wait. It so proved in the 
case of Gray and the ne^'^ro. While Ihey were 
watchinjf for an oj)portunity to do up this bad 
Indian Fiemin}^, an extra supj)ly of tire water 
and his own devilisli darin;( put him in just the 
the right shape for them to net their long sought 

At stated, Joab Ward was living on the river 
hanlv, where Sherman Brooks now lives, at the 
south end of the railroad bridge. Stopping with 
him, was his brother in-law, Ellis Kizer, fath- 
er of Tom and H»*nry Kizer of Winchester. 
It so happened on a warm day in September, 
just as the Ward family were eating dinner, that 
a very unwelcome guest in the shape of an Indian 
entered the house. It took but one glance to see 
the Indian was Fleming, and that he was drunk 
and bent on mischief. In one hand he carried a 
huge butcher knife and in the other his ever- 
ready rifle. The Wards, not desiring to have 
trouble with him, aslced him to sit down and have 
dinner with them. But this did not suit the mood 
of the cut throat, and he demanded whiskey. He 
was informed that they had none for him. Then 
he wanted money. This too, he was told, was an 
article fully as scarce as whiskej'; but all this 
would not do; he had come for blood. 

When Joab began to realize the serious and 
dangerous fix in which they were placed, he cast 
a longing glance at his rifle that lay resting in its 
hooks over the chjor. But the Indian was on to 
that little glance, and placed himself between 
Jf)ab and the gun, and flourished his huge butcher 
knife in a manner that threatened certain death 

Reminiscences of the Miasiasinewa Country 33 

to any one who dared to oppose him. But some- 
thing' bad to be done and done quickly. Ellis 
Kizer silting- on the other side of the table caug-ht 
the longing- g-lance of Joab towards the g-un, and 
as Joab jum])ed to his feet with a chair between 
him and the Indian, Kizer went for the g-un; the 
Indian seeing they wore too many for him made a 
break for the door and the river. He manag-ed, 
by running- zig-zag-, to keep Kizer from g-etting a 
bead on him until he gained the middle of the riv- 
er, -which at that time was a mere riffle, but Kizer 
was a marksman, and notwithstanding- the difficult 
shot from the Indian's crooked and fleet running- 
he g-ot a half chance and fired; the Indian g^ave a 
■whoop, but still kept on running. It so happened 
by the Indian's leg- being- raised the shot took 
effect in the heel and rang-ing up-ward came out 
near the knee making- a severe flesh -wound, but 
breaking- no bones; it made him terribly sick and 
when he reached the mouth of the little creek, 
that runs throug-h the west part of town and 
flows into the river just this side of the rock dam. 
he was compelled to lay down. 

Now it is astonishing how soon the news 
reached Jesse Gray, that the very Indian above 
all others that he wished to meet had been shot 
at Wards, and had run down the river, and in less 
than two hours Gray was seen to take his track 
at the bank of the river, and follow it, which he 
had no trouble in doinjj by the blood left on the 
leaves as the wounded Indian ran. The Indian 
in the meantime had managed to tear off a piece 
of his hunting- shirt and by twisting" it around his 
leg had stopped the flow of blood. Of course he 

34 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

rather expected to be followed and managed to 
conceal himself in a clump of bushes where he 
was layinjf to give a warm reception to any one 
who might be on his trail; and by being so well 
concealed he exj>ected to get the tirst shot; but 
he little dreamed that his worst dreaded foe, one 
he had more reason to fear than all others, one 
more cunning in woodcraft than even himself, 
and one whom he well knew thirsted for his blood, 
was even then on his trail. 

It so happened that each discovered the 
other about the same time, and as Gray raised 
his gun to tire it seemed as if the Indian lost all 
his boasted bravery and resorted to tlight rather 
than fight. He commenced rolling over and over 
like a log until he reached a tree and before 
Gray could tire he had jumped behind it. The 
most of hunters would have waited patiently for 
him to show himself or make a break for another 
tree; but Gray was too smart to be beaten by 
this kind of a trick; he immediately changed his 
position off to one side and discovered the Indian 
crawling close to the ground and getting away 
as fast and as quietly as a serpent, and so very 
unsteady were his motions that it was almost im- 
possible in get a good shot; but Jesse knew that 
the Indian's object was to draw his tire and if he 
missed, before he could load again the Indian 
would have him at a disadvantage. So he saw 
he would have to force the tight. He made a 
break for the red man, and this, too, the Indian 
was prepared for, and he again started on a run; 
always managing to keep a tree between him 
and (iray, and when he did exj>ose himself he 

JESSE GRAY, the slayer of Pequannah and hero of the Mississinewa, 

Reminiscences of l/ic Missiasinewa Country 3S 

would run from side to side, makinjij- a line like a 
rail fence; buL the superior skill of tlie white man 
was too much for him; Gray stopped short, threw 
his gun to his shoulder and before the Indian 
could j^'-et behind another tree he tired. The In- 
dian g-ave a bound up in the air and fell tiat on 
his face; Gray did not stop to see the effect of 
his shot, but presuming he iiad killed him stone 
dead, he reloaded his gun and returned home, 
told the negro their mutual enemy was at last be- 
yond doing either of them any more harm, for 
him to keep him posted when the officers of the 
law got on his track, bade his family a hasty 
farewell, and started for Wayne County, thinking 
that in a few months at least the trouble would 
have ])lown over and he could return home on the 

Mississinewa. 14i750l2 

It may well be imagined what was his sur- 
prise about four weeks after the shooting of 
Fleming, to see the darkey at his door with his 
eyes fairly bulging out and trembling like he had 
the ague. "Why, Smith, what's the matter?' 'said 

"Oh I done tole 3^ou. Mr. Gray, dat Injun 
Fleming got already done killed; he ain't killed 
at all and dem Llewellyn's got him up dar to de 
house, and sent away off and got a big medicine 
man and when he come he look at dat Injun 
mighty sorry, and den he tuck a silk handkerchief 
an he put de end in dat bullet hole, an he takes a 
ramrod an he punched dat handkerchief clar 
through dat Injun an den he put that handker- 
chief to him nose an smell it, and fore de Lord. 
Mr. Gray, he say good Injun get well, and dar 

36 Reminisce n ee * of the Mississinrwa Country 

dey been nursin dat bad Injun and dey do saj* he 
gwine to get well; and Jesse Gray an dis nijjger 
had better look out or leab de country." 

After Gray had heard Smith to the end of 
his story he asked him what he intended to do 
about it. This was a stunner to the poor darkey, 
and he scatched his wooley^head a, moment and 
said, "Why, dat's just z.ictly what 1 cum to see 
you for, Mr. Gray, dars one thin<,'^_mi}^dity power- 
ful sure, somebody has j,'-ot to kill dat Injun; he 
seems to hab as many lives as a cat. " 

"Well", said Gray, wanting to have a little 
fun with the darky, "will you undertake to finish 
him before he gets well and kills us both':"' 

"Oh, Lordyl Mr. Gray, I never could kill dat 
Injun; he entirely too smart for dis nigger, on he 
dun kill me fore I git my gun off my shoulder." 

It was finally arranged that if Gray would 
go with the nigger to the Llewellyn house and 
protect him from liarni. he (Smith) would shoot 
the Indian without fail. The^ price to be paid 
Gray for going^along and seeing fair play, was a 
grubbin hoe, two bars of lead, and three gun 
Hints. The next Saturday was set down for the 
time and how they succeeded in the undertaking 
will appear in the next chapter. 


Lady M. — Are you a man? 
Macbeth — Ay and a bold one that dare look 
on that which might apall the 

Devil. SHAKbsPKAKE. 

As ajj^Tced upon, on the next Saturday Gray 
and the darkey met and decided to immediately 
start on their somewhat uncertain and dang'erous 
undertaking" of killing" Fleming". On this occa- 
sion there was to be no mistake; that devilish 
cut-throat Indian had to die, or each of them lay 
down their lives in the attempt. Gray was to 
take the lead, and when they once g"ot into the 
room where the Indian lay, Smith was to do the 
shooting. Gray told Smith to follow rig"ht in 
his footsteps, but not make a motion or speak a 
word, only when he was told to do so. 

About the time they were ready to start the 
darkey began to repent of his rashness. Gray 
turned on him with a look fairly paralizing" him, 
and told him if he did not stand right up to the 
work and do just as he bade him, he would blow 
his head oft". This settled the poor darkey, as it 
was sure death if he backed out. The two 
men of different color started on a mission of 
blood, to wipe from the face of the earth, a man 
of still another race and color from either of 
them. When the}^ reached the Llewell)^ home 
it was just after supper. Gray placed the negro 
behind a tree while he went forward to reconoi- 
ter, and the sight that greeted him was ■v\''ell cal- 

38 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

culated to appall a stouter heart than his. Seat- 
ed on the j^'^rass in the shade of the forest trees 
that surrounded the house, were six or eijjht 
stalwart Indians, who after the excitement of 
the day's hunt, were smokin;,'^ their pipes and tell- 
inj,*^ to each other the adventures of the day; all 
unmindful of tlie presence of the man they dread- 
ed more than all the rest of their white nei^^hbors 
combined. As usual they had placed their «juns 
In the house, not needinj^^ them until the morrow. 
Gray returned to Smith and told him to follow 
directly in his footsteps, and on pain of instant 
death, to neither speak nor show signs of fear. 

Before the Indians had time to realize what 
was happeninjjf. Gray and the ne^^ro were stand- 
ing right in the path that led to the house, 
and between them and their guns. One or two of 
them started to rise; but Gray, by a single motion 
of the hand and without speaking a word bade 
them stay right where they were if they wished to 
live, and they obeyed without a murmur. All 
this time the darkey was stepping on Gray's 
heels, and his teeth were chattering like a buzz 
saw. A few hasty ste])s brought them to the 
door of the wounded Indian Mrs. Llewellyn, 
knowing Gray well, at once defined his mission, 
and tried to bar their way, hut (fray as quietly 
pushed her aside and they entered. She com- 
menced remonstrating and positively forbid them 
to shed blood in her house. Gray told her in lan- 
guage more emphatic than jiolite. that they had 
come to kill the Indian and if powder would burn, 
they would do it; if she did not wish to .see the 
tragedy she had Ix-tter retire. This she posi- 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 39 

lively refused to do. Then (iray took her by the 
arm and pushed her out and barred the door. 

All this time the Indians lay there eyein;^ 
them as coolly as if they had no interest in the 
matter whatever. After the woman was out of 
the room, Gray turned to the nej^ro and told him 
to do the business, but he mi^ht as well have 
talked to a stump. The darkey stood there with 
his eyes bulg'ed out, and his complexion in a few 
minutes turned from a black to a shade whiter 
than Gray himself; his knees were knockinj^ to- 
gether, his teeth rattled and in fact he had a ter- 
rible attack of buck ague. He could not raise 
the hammer of the gun to save his life; and when 
he went to raise the gun to his shoulder he took 
it by the wrong end. Gray seeing he was more 
apt to kill himself than the Indian, gave the 
poor fellow one withering glance of contempt, 
and stepping to the bed on which the wounded 
red man lay, told him he could have one minute 
in which to make peace with Great Spirit. The 
Indian answered by a defiant look and drew the 
blanket over his head. Gray placed the muzzle 
of the gun within two feet of the Indian 's fore- 
head and tired. The blood and brains spattered 
the ceiling overhead and Fleming' the thief and 
murderer, had started on the voyage to the happy 
hunting grounds. 

At the crack of the gun some of the Indians 
on the outside got up and peered through the 
cracks to see what was going on, but none of 
them attempted to get their guns. After the 
shot that settled Fleming, Gray stepped to the 
fire place, took out his pipe, tilled it with tobacco. 

40 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

lij,''hted it, and after givinj,' the darkey a mean- 
intr look as much as to say "If you dare to run 
I'll kill you, "stepped out and coolly walked away, 
with the darkey almost steppiu}^ on his heels. 
Not an Indian spoke a word or made a movement 
to ^et up. The two kept up this moderate j^^ait 
until they got down the little hill and just out 
of sight, when Gray turned to the negro and said, 
"Now if you value your life, run for it," and run 
they did. 

Gray said, in telling this adventure, "I never 
saw the Indian that could outrun me, but with 
the darkey I was nowhere; and every now and 
then he had lo stop and wait till I caught up, for 
he was too badly scared to run alone." 

They finally reached (Jray's house after a run 
of four or five miles. After they had something 
to eat, Gra}' said, "Now to-night them Indians 
will attack us, so we will prepare to receive 
them." So they fortified the house as best they 
could, moulded all the lead about the house into 
bullets, picked the flints and sat down to wait. 
At this time Gray's oldest boy could handle a 
gun by taking a rest off a log or fence and it was 
arranged that this boy should conceal himself be- 
hind the bars that crosst-d the lane that ran up 
to the house and when an Indian made his ap- 
pearance, be was to fire at him and run for the 
house, where the door would be left ajar for him, 
and when safely inside they would be prepared 
to stand a siege for several days. 

The boy had not waited for more than an 
hour or so when uj) trotted an Indiati dog; the 
boy ran to t«'ll jiis father al)oul tin- dog. 'Now go 

Remtntscences of the Mississinewa Country 41 

back" said Gray, "and keep a sliarj) lookout, for 
the do;^ shows that they are cominj^, and if they 
tind that we are prepared for them tiiey will not 
be anxious to tackle us, " The boy was armed 
with an old Hint lock musket loaded with buck- 
shot^ Vi }4"un that had done duty at Ft. Recovery. 
The boy had only time to conceal himself, when 
bang- went the old musket and the boy went 
tumbling into the house heels over head. "I 
g-ave it to one Indian, dad, sure; I saw him fall 
and heard him grunt." The men peered out at 
the loop holes in the cabin and looking every 
minute to see an Indian slipi)ing u}) on the house. 
But daylight came without the sign of an Indian. 

The men hnally ventured out cautiously, 
fearing the cunning Indians might have a trap 
laid for them. The^^ went to the bars where the 
boy had fired the old musket, and instead of a 
dead Indian, there lay a yearling calf perforated 
with twenty buck shot. As the old man told 
this story he laughed till he had to hold his sides. 
"The worst of it was'' said he "it was the only 
animal on the place, and I could never get that 
boy to ever talk about lighting Indians after 
that. But there is no doubt that the shot warned 
the reds that we were ready for them and saved 
us a tight and maybe our lives." 

*It is needless to say that after the killing of 
Fleming, the cut-throat Indian, Gra}' and the 
negro had to lay pretty low for a while. They 
took a trip south to Gray's old stamping grounds 
in Wayne county, and allowed the affair to blow 
over. It was while Gray and Smith were taking 
this lay off", that Gray received the word from 

42 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

the Mississinewa country tliat the famous Indian 
marksman and hunter. Pequannah, which in the 
Indian hin^ua},''e si{^nities dead or sure shot with 
the ritle, was g-oinj,'" on his trail and would never 
rest until he had avenjjfed the death of Pleminy^ 
by killinj^'' Gray and the ne'j'ro. Gray was well 
acquainted with this celebrated warrior having" 
frequently met him at the shootini;- matches of 
the Indians and settlers, where Pe([uannah was 
sure to carry away a h\\i, load of beef and furs 
and other traps that were ])Ut up and shot for. 
He also knew that he had a foeman worthy of 
his steel in this Indian, but he lost no time in 
this, acceptinj,'' the Indians challenjjfe and sent 
the Indian word that before three moons he would 
han<,^ Pequannah's scalp to his belt. 

Now commenced one of the most exciting", 
most darinj,'" still hunts that ever occurred; the 
hunt to be to the death, and it was diamond cut 
diamond; the superior skill and darin;^; bravery 
of the white man ag'ainst the equally' skillful and 
more cunning red man. Gray jiut his ^un in best 
of order and started for the Mississinewa. 
While he did his best to keep from being" seen by 
any one it was almost imi)ossible to do so, and of 
course the Indian was speedily informed that the 
terror of all the Indians, Jesse Gray, was in the 
county and thirsting for his blood. The Indian 
was Just as anxious as Gray for the combat that 
must come sooner or later; for he would gain 
more honor by killing Gray than twenty other 
white men; so day after day these two men hunt- 
ed; each bent on the shedding" of the blood of the 
other. Days lengthened into months and yet 

Reminiscences of (he Mississinewa Country 43 

neither bad j^ained the ojjportunity souj^ht. The 
fattest bear or deer mij^^ht have crossed the path 
of either in safet}'', as the crack of a ritle would 
warn the foe of the whereabouts of his enemy, or 
any other Indian mij^^ht pass ri^ht under the tree 
in which the white hunter was concealed and 
never know how near he was to the man thirst- 
ing" for the blood of one of his tribe; the In- 
dian was pursuing' exactly the same tactics. Jesse 
Gray was the only white man he was looking" for. 
Nearly three months had elapsed since these two 
men started on the war path, and so terribly 
cautious was each, they never had a glimpse of 
one another. 

It was about the middle of the afternoon, on 
a very hot and sultry day in September, when 
the climax came. Many of my readers will re- 
member a beautiful clear, cool spring, just a few 
rods above the old lime kilns and near the south 
west corner of river cemeterj^ and south east cor- 
ner of the corporation line. Even as late as 
twenty-five years ag"o, the spring was cared for, 
and was a favorite place to get a cool refreshing" 
drink, on a summer Sunday afternoon, or when 
on a fishing tour. A beautiful wild crabapple 
tree leaned over and formed a complete shade for 
the spring, and in the early spring the fragrance 
of its mag'nificent white blossoms was a rare 
treat indeed. I believe the spring is now rel- 
egated to innocuous desuetude. On the south 
side of the river and opposite this spring. Gray 
had climbed into the thick branches of a large 
spreading oak, which position placed him about 
one hundred yards from the spring. ELe wiseh' 
concluded that some time during the day the In- 
dian would come to that spring for a drink, the 
day being extremely hot and dr\\ His theory 
was correct. 


When Greek meets Greek then comes the tug of war. 

He had been concealed among the branches 
for several hours, and was gettinj^'^ very tired and 
had about made up his mind to climb down and 
'fi'we uj) the hunt for that day, when his trained 
eye cauj^ht sij^ht of a jieculiar movement in the 
thicket some two hundred yards above thesprinj^, 
and on that side of the river. He watched close- 
ly, and in a ft^w minutes saw an Indian emerg"e 
from the lhicl\et. He knew at a {glance that it 
was an Indian, but was not sure at first that it was 
the {.fame he was huntinjLj, as alread}' two whites 
and one Indian had drunk at the sprinj,'', since he 
had climbed into the tree. But it was Pequannah. 

He noted every motion of that Indian, and 
the time it took him to ^et to the spring", showed 
the extreme caution of the man. He stepped as 
lightly as a cat. and every bush that barred his 
wa\' he put aside without creating the least 
sound. F^very lime he stopped, it was behind a 
tree large enough to conceal his body from an 
enemy in his front, and there he would stand for 
several minutes as silent and motionless as the 
sphinx, scanning every l)usli and tree with the 
practiced eye of the born woodsman. Once when 
within about one hundred yards of the s})ring, he 
stopped as usual behind a tree, and for many 
minutes his eye seemed to rest on the identical 
tree in which Gray was concealed. 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 45 

It seemed as if the untutored savajj:e instinc- 
tively scented dang^er. He stood and j^azed so 
long- in that direction that the white hunter 
thought that he must surely be discovered. The 
distance was too great for anything like a dead 
shot, but he was at last relieved by seeing- the In- 
dian step from behind the tree and cautiously 
move toward the spring". Never for one moment 
did Gray allow his eye to wander from that wiry 
form, g^liding through the bushes with the still- 
ness of the panther approaching his prey. It 
seemed to Gray that the Indian never would 
reach the spring, so cautious and slow' were his 
movements. All this time Gray sat with his 
back resting against the body of the tree, with 
his gun resting on a limb and pointing directly 
to the spring. 

Of course he did not dare to move a muscle, 
nor change the position of his gun, for well he 
knew, that the practical eye of the wily foe he 
had to deal with w^ould detect the least motion 
he might make, and in a second of time, spoil the 
only chance and advantage he had been months 
in securing. But he was equal to the task. Not 
a single motion did he make. Slowly, cautiously, 
the Indian approached the spring, so fearful of 
an ambush was he, that instead of leaving his 
gun against a tree as usual while he drank, he 
laid down with his right hand clutching the gun. 
As he lay there drinking, if a line had been 
drawn from the pupil of Gray's eye, through the 
notch of the rear sight, and over the front head 
of his gun, that line would have intersected 
a spot directly over the Indian's heart. 

46 Reminiscences of the Mississinen'a Country 

The clear sharp crack of a rille. reverbera- 
ting up and down the j)lacid waters of the Miss- 
issinewa, a wreath of smoke curlin^-^ up hijjfh above 
the top branches of the majestic oak, until lost in 
the mist of the blue dome above. A white hun- 
ter sittint,^ rij^'^id, with his back aj^ainst the tree, 
with a face j^ihastly pale, and his eaj^^er eye in- 
tently riveted on the form of an Indian at the 
sprin«if across the river, and Pequannah 's spirit, 
if he had any, had started to join his fathers, and 
face the j^frand sachem in the sweet remotely, or 
the red man's happj^ hunting'" j^'^round, where he 
mig^ht smoke his kinnicanick, and join in the 
beautiful esthetic ^host dance, where no pale face 
hunter or U. S. troops dare molest or make him 

When the '^\in cracked, the Indian clutched 
his rifle, whirled over on his back and made one 
last dyintj: effort to fi"et his {^un to his shoulder, 
but the effort was in vain; he g^ave one spasmodic 
g^asp and fell back dead. The ball had pierced 
his heart. Alas, ))oor Lo, he had at least died 
with his face toward his enemy. We all listened 
to hear the old man say that he either did or did 
not kill the Indian, but the old man simply said, 
"Pequannah was still laying,'' there drinkinj,'" when 
I climbed down from the tree and started for 
Wayne County, and I never saw him af^'^ain. " 
But a little mound near the sprinj,^, still vi.sible 
forty years aj^o, tells the story. . 

I should have said in a previous cha])ter that 
there were two other Indians with Fleminjf when 
he went to the house of Joab Ward at the time 
Flemin^^ was shot by Ki/.«"r, and thin^;^s looked 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 47 

extremely blue for Joab and the rest of the set- 
tlers, as there was a camp of five or six hundred 
Indians down the river on what is now known as 
the Kitselman farm. Joab and Kizer well knew 
if these Indians j,rot an exag'g'erated and one-sided 
account of the shooting-, and took it into their 
heads to go on the war path, not a man, woman, 
or child of the palefaces in the settlement would 
be spared. So. when Joab saw the two Indians 
start west for the camp on the run he halted 
them and told them to come back and hear what 
he had to sa}'. 

They did not want to stop, and kept on in- 
creasing their speed; but when Joab threw^ his 
trusty rifle to his shoulder and looked rather 
longingly in their direction, they immediately 
changed their minds, and returned. The first 
thing the white men did was to disarm the two 
Indians, and then Joab spoke to them in sub- 
stance as follows, 

"Now go to your friends and tell them the 
exact truth about the shooting as you know it to 
be. Say to them we have always been their 
friends, have kept faith with them, and have al- 
ways treated them like brothers. As you well 
know, we were compelled to shoot Fleming, or 
lose our own lives. Tell them to come and get 
Fleming and if he is dead, bury him; and if alive, 
take him and take care of him. Tell them to 
come unarmed, not to bring a single gun, or there 
will be serious trouble; and after you have taken 
care of Fleming- come and get your g'uns. " 

So the tw^o braves started, and it seems as if 
they had truthfully delivered the message, for 

48 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

about sundown six <)r'ei«,'ht^st;ihvart[Indianscame 
up, and tindin;^' Fleminj,'^ still alive lyinj^^ where 
Gray had left him, picked him u]), and as already 
stated, |t(>ok him to the Llewellyn residence. I 
had also for^^otten the fact that Gray and the 
nejjro went to the house of Joab Ward on the day 
they shot Fleming,'' at the Llewellyns presumably 
to get'Joab to ^o alonjc and to share in the g^lory, 
but Aunt Amy, as she was familiarly called, told 
them 'that Joab was not in and she could not tell 
when he would'return, which Joel thinks a little 
white pardonable "tib. " 

Many times in after years he said to his fath- 
er, ''As a matter of fact was thee not. at that 
very time, concealed somewhere in the house?" 
which question caused the. old gentleman to bejjin 
to look for; bees and observe rather hastily that 
it was hif^^h^ time to be at work in the cornfield. 
Thus it was with all these old settlers. They 
would tell 3'ou an interesting-- story of early ad- 
venture, but always leave something: to f^ at, 

and the moment you would bej^in to fjuestion 
them.' the}' would break otT_abruj)tly and change 
the subject. 

Before we say goodbye to our old friend and 
hero, CJray, we will give an instance or two 
of the terril^le dread the red man had of the fam- 
ous white hunter. . Gray had . found excellent 
hunting ground on the Loblolh* about twenty-five 
miles north of the Mississinewa, where at the 
mouth of a little creek^emptying into the Lob- 
lolly, he had established his camp and where 
every fall with a few congenial spirits, he re- 
paired to take his annual hunt. The Indians, 
loo, had discovered tiiis rich hunting ground and 
had built several camps, and every autumn, some 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 49 

six or eight braves and their squaws and papooses 
camped there and killed their winter venison iind 
trai)ped a large amount of fur. 

This arrangement did not suit Gray, of 
course, and he warned them to pull uj) stakes, 
and get away from there. This the Indians re- 
fused to do, contending, and with reason too, 
they had as much right to hunt there as the white 
man. And as Gray had wiped out the last In- 
dian that had anything to do with the murdering 
of his family and as the law was getting more 
and more severe for the killing of Indians, he con- 
cluded to resort to stratagem, and if that failed 
he would try something else. 

Talk of your sign language! One frosty 
morning, when the red men arose at the peep of 
day to start out on the day's hunt, the chief of 
the band was noticed to halt abruptly and intent- 
ly scan some peculiar mark he noticed on a tree, 
about one hundred yards from the camp. After 
gazing for some time at the mark he called the 
other braves to him and explained something to 
them that caused them to retrace their steps and 
to immediately begin to pack their traps and pre- 
pare for a journey. In the meantime the chief 
continued his investigation and this is what he 
discovered: there were six camps and six braves, 
and in six trees there was a little notch cut with 
a sharp tomahawk, and in each notch there was 
a bullet and a load of powder. It is need- 
less to say the Indians understood this lan- 
guage better than they would the plainest 
English, or their own Miami tongue. At 
least it had the desired effect: for about meridian 
of that day, six braves, with their rifles on their 
shoulders and six squaws, with their six papooses, 
and the tents, furs and pelts strapped on their 
backs, stood in single or Indian file, with their 
faces turned toward the setting sun, awaiting the 
command of the chief. It came in the single 
word, Puccachee. 


Wizards know their times; deep night, dark night, 
the silent of the night, the time of night when 
Troy was set on fire; the time when screech owls 
cry, and ban dog howl, and gliosis break up their 
graves. — King Henry VI. 

Puccacliee, in the Indian lanjjuaj.rt' means. 
Forward march I Git up and jLfit! Skedaddlel 
Vamose the ranch! So the six warriors, six 
squaws, and six papooses started west to find a 
more conj^renial huntinj^ ground. Before the next 
autumn's huntinir season came around, all the 
camps on that creek were burned to the jj^round. 
No one knew who did it, but the stronjj: presump- 
tion was that Jesse Gray knew somethini^ about 
it; and to this day that creek is known as burnt 
camp creek and it was while camped on the banks 
of that creek, in company with Jesse Gray, my 
father, elder brother, uncle Joe and several oth 
ers, that I heard man}' of the thrilling" adventures 
which are related in the ''Reminiscences, " from 
Jesse Gray himself, the j^'^reat hunter and Indian 
slayer and noblest Roman of them all. 

It was while encamped here with Gray, my 
father and many others, that occurred one of 
those peculiar, and to this day, lauj^'^hable inci- 
dents that so vividly illustrates the superstition 
of the hunter of that day, and in fact may still be 
found with many hunters, actors and {gamblers of 
the present time. My father was an old Virj^'^itiia 
dutchman, and as full of dreams, si^"hs and tokens 



• ^ 









































































Reminiscences of the Mississincwa Country 51 

as an e^^g is of meat, and the rest of the party 
were much like him in that respect. Father was 
always recog-nized as the Grand Sachem or boss 
of the party; and it being- necessary for Gray to 
go home for a few days to attend to some urg-ent 
business, after which he would join us and finish 
up the hunt, as he shouldered his gun just at peep 
o' day, he turned to my father and said: 

"Now, Lew, if an old devil and wizard, 
named Harshish, should come here in my absence, 
which he is almost sure to do, don't under any 
circumstances, g"ive him anything', for if you do 
he will spell your g"uns, and you will not hit an- 
other deer this hunt." With this parting- injunc- 
tion the old man took his leave. After Gray left 
some of the party laug^hed rather lig^htly at the 
old man's warning-, but the most of them consid- 
ered it more seriously. My brother Jim, who was 
considered the best hunter in the party concluded 
that he knew more about "spelling" guns than 
father, Gray, or anyone else, and said that the 
idea that a gun could be "spelled" was too absurd 
to be talked of for a moment; and if be was at the 
camp when Harshish called, he would give him 
the whole camp just to show them that they were 
all superstitious lunatics. But Jim changed his 
mind before thirty-six hours had passed. 

It was about four o'clock in the evening of 
the day that Gray left for his home. I, a boy of 
twelve or thereabout, and the camp keeper of the 
party, was stirring the fire preparatory to setting- 
on the coffee pot, and hanging over the blazing 
logs, the dinner pot, well filled with young veni- 
son. I was startled by an apparition of, well I 

52 Reminiscences of the Misaissinewa Country 

will not say a man, yet it was a living-, moving, 
breathing animal of the genuine homo. I would 
like, if possible to describe that singular looking 
being for the reader, but alas the pen is unequal 
to the task, and I pause dumfounded. not know 
ing where to begin or what to say. Nay. not 
even the hasty little kodak of today could catch 
him so uncertain were his movements, so restless 
his motions, so glittering and piercing his little 
deep sunken eyes; indeed he was one that might 
well appall the devil, and what of a twelve year 
old boy; I presume that had it not been that 
Gray's description had prepared me for such a 
sight, these ''Reminiscences'' would never have 
been written, and yet I had as much grit as the 
average boy of that day and age. 

I assure you that his greeting was not cal- 
culated to nerve me, as his first words were in a 
tone of voice something between the screech of a 
locomotive and the plaintive wail of a Scotch 
bag-pipe. "What the devil is the matter, 
boy, did you never see a man before?" "N — , 
n — , no" I managed to say, I never had. I sup- 
pose I meant such a man as that. He was about 
five feet in height, slimly built and could not have 
weighed over ninety pounds, with a shock of 
grizzly gray hair, a snow-white beard that cover- 
ed every inch of his repulsive features, and 
neither hair nor beard had ever known the use of 
a comb. Hi.s little deep-set piercing eyes re- 
minded one of two holes cut in a venison ham, or 
two holes burnt in a blanket. But now to at- 
tem])t to de.scribe his dress; a hunting shirt which 
at the beginning, was buck skin, but now from 

Reminiscences of the Missiaainewa Country 53 

the numerous patches sewed on, tied on with 
strings, tied on with hickory bark, patch upon 
patch, until all the colors of the rainbow were: 
blended into one inconceivable butternut hue; 
moccasins of a pre-historic type, were tied upon 
his feet with leatherwood bark, while his pants 
out-g"eneraled his coat for color and patches. 
His hands, which scorned the use of soap, remind- 
ed one of the talons of a chicken hawk; on his 
head he wore what had once been a cap, made of 
deer skin with the hair side out, but now it looked 
somewhat like a last year's inverted bird's nest 
after the breakiDg- up of a hard winter; but com- 
parisons are vain, and I'll give it up in despair. 

An old U. S. flint-lock musket was slung over 
his shoulder, a dilapidated, greasy shot-pouch 
and powder horn hung by his side, while a much- 
worn shoemaker's knife, in a leather scabbard, 
was tied to his belt. His next words were: 

"Give me something to eat, boy; I'm hungry 
as a bar." 

■ But by this time I had partially regained my 
senses, and told the ghoul or goblin, that there 
was not a morsel of cooked food in the camp, but 
if he would tarry awhile, the hunters would be in 
and by that time I would have supper ready, and 
would be very much pleased to have him sup with 
us. This invitation he readily accepted, and 
standing his gun against a tree with a satisfied 
grunt, sat down on a log to await the return of the 
hunters and supper. 

In a short time, all returned and as they 
greeted the visitor it was plain to be seen, thej' 
knew who he was from Gray's description; and 

54 Reminiscrncrs of the Mississinewa Country 

indeed he introduced himself as Harshish, the old- 
est and greatest hunter of the classic Loblolly; 
had killed more de^r and bear than any man in 
the world. While be would be talking" to one, 
the rest would be out behind the camp discussing^ 
the situation. It was tinally decided that allow- 
ing the wizard to take supper with us would not 
be givin^^ him anything anyway, and moreover 
was anj' man ever known to come to the home of 
father, hungry, and go away empty? So Har- 
shish took supper with us. He did not tarry 
long after supper, but picked up his gun to start; 
for the sake of good manners, father asked him 
to stay all night; no, he would go to his own 
cabin, which was not more than a mile away, 
and he had traveled those woods darker nights 
than that. 

Just before leaving he turned to father rath- 
er carelessly and said he had always made it a 
point when he was having good luck hunting, to 
divide with his less fortunate neighbors, and he 
had been hunting several days and killed noth- 
ing, and his famil}' being entirely out of meat 
and nothing else in the house to eat but a little 
unground corn, he would be very thankful for a 
small piece of venison. Now of course father 
could not refuse that appeal especially when the 
wizard referred to his family, and had his mind 
fully made up to otTer him meat without asking, 
regardless of the wishes of the others, but he 
wisely concluded to have their consent, so if any 
disaster followed the gift, would not bear all the 
blame. And moreover we could not plead scar- 
city, as there right in front of the gent, hung three 

Reminiscences of the Mtssissinewa Country SS 

fine deer, the fruits of the day's hunt. So father 
said, "Well 'tis true we have the venison, and to 
spare, but I am only one and as for me you can 
have the meat, and welcome." Then Jim, the 
man who did not believe in "spells", spoke up, 
"Certainly, g^ive him all the meat he wants, and 
we can kill more when this is g"one." Uncle Joe 
was of the same opinion, and ^^ave his assent. 
Old Coon Thompson, the next oldest, to father, 
and the most superstitious of the party was the 
hardest nut to crack. But as all the rest were 
ag^ainst him, gave a reluctant consent, saying he 

thoui^lit any man who was not too d n lazy 

might get all the game he wanted without beg- 
ging- it. If Harshish heard this remark he did 
not heed it, and father stepped out to one of the 
deer hanging on the pole, cut off a fore-quarter 
and handed it to the apparently thankful Har- 
shish, who speedily took his departure. For 
hours after he was gone the men lay there dis- 
cussing the pro's and con's, and wondering what 
the morrow would bring forth, which interesting 
question will be answered in the next chapter. 


They ripped and tore, cussed and swore, 
and swore they wouldn't stay there any 
more.— Old Negro Melody. 

A better time for stalking deer never dawned, 
than the mornin^^ after the wizard of Loblolly 
left the camp with his quarter of fat venison. 
A crisp while frost covered the j^^round and hun^*^ 
like sparkiinfT diamonds from the trees and 
underbrush; just such a morninj.f as gladdens the 
lM?art of a hunter, and sends him forth with the 
assurance that before the frost has melted from 
the leaves he will j^et a shot; for on such a morn- 
ing" any old deer hunter will tell you that every 
deer in the woods is on the move, especially in 
the height of running time. 

It was not more than a half hour, until bang, 
went a gun. "That's father," said I, "and I'll 
bet mj' boots there's one deer less in the woods. " 
1 wish to explain her^ that after being in the 
woods a few days, hunters can tell the crack of 
each other's guns as well by the sound, as if they 
saw them fired. In five or ten minutes more, 
bang, bang. I heard Jim's gun tire two shots in 
quick succession, and in less time than it takes 
to record it, the shots became so fast and furious 
that it reminded one of a skirmish line, and I be 
gan to wonder what we would do with all the 
deer killed that morning. But before dinner 
time my mind was set at rest on that subject. 
The first to get into camp was father; he came 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 57 

tearing' throug-h the woods like a mad steer; as 
he threw off his shot-poucli and slammed his gun 
down in the tent, he muttered, "D — n old Har- 
shish; what in the dickens did them fellows mean 
by g"iving liim meat anyway; two broadside shots 
and not a hair touched." 

Next came Uncle Joe puffing and blowing 
with the same refrain, "D — n that old scoundrel! 
Three as fair shots as I ever had in my life and 
not a hair or drop of blood. Lew, what in the 
thunder ever possessed you to give that old d — -1 
that quarter of venison?"' 

"I didn't give it any more than the rest of 
you" replied father hotly. 

Next came Jim the wise man, that did not be- 
lieve in the hoodoo art. Oh, but he was hot! 
"What do you think" said he; "I stood right in 
my tracks and shot five times at the big"g"est five 
point buck that runs the woods and neverj^made 
him bat his eye. I know I took as good sight, 
and had as steady a nerve as I ever had, and I 
did not shoot an inch over sixty yards. That 
villian has spelled my gun, I am ready to swear, 
for I never miss a deer that distance, you all 
know. " 

This was a fact for Jim was known as the 
greatest deer hunter of that day, and had the 
proud distinction of standing in bis tracks, and 
piling up five full grown deer, and that with the 
old fashioned muzzle loading, single barreled 
rifle, which would be a considerable feat to-day, 
even with the improved Winchester. In fact it 
was not uncommon for Jim to kill more deer than 
all the rest of the party, and as a matter of 

58 Reminiscmcfs of the Mississmewa Country 

course when lie reported havinyf missed five fair 
shots, sometljinjf had to be wronjj with his ^un, 
that was dead sure. After each one related his 
terrible luck, and blamed old Harshish with it, 
father says, ''Well we will wait for old Coon 
Thompson, and if he has missed we may as well 
hanj^'^ uj) the liddle and break for home." 

They had not lonj,' to wait, for last came not 
Satan, but somethini^^ worse. It was old Coon. 
You mitjht have heard tiim swear for a mile or 
more; he fairly turned the woods blue with pro- 
fanity. "Didn't I warn you, Lew, not to give 
that old devil anythinj,^':' Didn't Jesse Gray tell 
3'ou that if we g^ave him anything, our luck was 
done and our goose was cooked? Wh}' I would 
have .seen the old son of a gun starve before I 
would have given him a crumb of bread to save 
his cussed old life. We may just as well pull up 
stakes and start for New Paris, (where we lived 
at that time). If I only had that old devil here 
for one minute he would never spell another gun" 
said old Coon. 

"Why, have you forgotten, John, that noth- 
ing but a silver bullet will kill a witch or wiz- 
ard?'' said father, half jeeringly, half earnest. 

"I'd risk it" replied old Cooney; "I'd take 
the ax, chop him into mince meat and throw him 
into the tire. " 

"Well" said father "you have not told us yet 
what your luck has been; we heard you cannon- 
ading, and thought you had a wagon load of 
deer hung up. " 

"Deer" said Cooney, "devil a deer have I 
touched this day, though I have shot away every 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 59 

bullet in my pouch. The first chance I had was 
a doe and two fawns; they ran up within twenty 
steps of me; I could see their very eye winkers, 
and knew if I could knock the doe down in her 
tracks, I was about sure of all three of them. I 
held for the doe's heart, when fix went the cap. 
They never stirred. I put on a new cap, and 
click, it went ag-ain. There them three deer 
stood until I busted seven caps, and then g-alloped 
away without even seeing- me. I then conclud- 
ed the powder in the tube had got damp, and 
sig-hted at a spot on a tree, and the gun cracked as 
clear as a bell. I loaded again, and had not gone 
two hundred yards, until six deer came running 
and stopped within sixty yards of me. There 
I stood and banged away, shot after shot, while 
them deer circled around me until I hadn't a bul- 
let left in my pouch. I'll take my oath I did not 
shoot over twenty-five yards at some of the deer, 
and never touched a hair. Its all your fault, 
Lew; I told you not to give that old cuss any- 
thing, but you would have your own way, and 
now you see what's come of it. Our guns are 
spelled and we will not kill another deer. " 
* I should have stated that the other two hun- 
ters one of them, Hust Porterfield, of New Paris, 
and the D. G. of the same place had come in just 
before old Cooney, and had about the same ex- 
perience to report; plenty of shots, or snaps, but 
no game. Especially was D. G. badly demoral- 
ized; he had got a half mile from camp, when a 
large black bear came running and jumped up on 
a log not over fifteen steps awa}- and on seeing" 
the hunter, raised up on his haunches and took a 

60 Reminiscences of the Alississinewa Country 

hasty survey of him. The hunter aimed for his 
heart, when click went the caj); he snapped 
again and ajjain, and the gun failed to tire. He 
went to put on a new cap, and in his great haste 
and excitement allowed the cap box to slip from 
his hand and roll away in the leaves, and as he 
stooped to recover it the bear took the alarm and 
jumped the log and in a very brief time was lost 
in the underbrush. 

Thus it was each man had a story more dis- 
mal than the one preceding him. So they 
jawed and quarreled. Crimination and recrimi- 
nation was the order of the day; each one posi- 
tively denying that he had been responsible for 
the bad luck in giving the wizard the venison. 
So after they had quarreled until they became 
tired of that sport, father said the witch did not 
live that could put on a charm that he could not 
break, that he was not born right in the shadow 
of the natural bridge in old Virginia to be out- 
generaled by such a little shriveled up wizard as 
old Harshish. and if they would all be governed 
by him he would break the spell. To this they 
readily assented you may be sure. 

Each man took his gun barrel out of the 

stock; this being done, the vents or tubes were 

closely plugged up; a pole was placed over the big 

log fire, high enoug^h for the lower end of the 

barrels to hang a foot or more above the fire. A 
))iece of hickory bark was tied around the muz- 
zle and was tilled with a lluid readily obtainable, 
then each barrel was suspended from the pole, 
until they should boil dry, while an incantation 
or witch jargan, something like the following 
was repeated thrice: 

Reminiscences of the Miasissinewa Country 61 

Boil away, boil away, till the pot boils dry; 
Away to the clouds the charm will fly: 
If the witch comes back, the witch will die; 
Howly poke, up in smoke, and all's well. 

The ^uns having" all boiled until they were 
perfectly^ dry, were taken down, thorouj^^hly 
washed out with hot water and ashes, and wiped 
dry with tow. They were then fitted to their stocks 
and,' were ready for the next morning's hunt. 
About sundown Jesse Gray returned, and laughed 
heartily, when told of the morning adventures, 
he himself having killed a large five point buck 
on his way^to camp. We staid there three more 
days, and had more game than we could haul 
home. Besides the deer killed, we had six or 
eight wild turkeys, and nearly a barrel of honey. 

I am aware that some of my readers will 
think Old Timer is exaggerating, but I can assure 
them that while the language is my own, the 
facts as here set down are substantially true 
as Holy Writ. Is it more unreasonable to be- 
lieve these stories of superstition and witchcraft. 
than it is to"^[believe that Mrs. Stuckenberg of 
Louisville, Kentucky, at precisely the same hour, 
3 o'clock p. m. of each Friday, has appearing 
on her forehead a perfect cross and on her 
breast the initials I. H. S., and the nail holes 
through her hands and feet? Also the spear 
thrust in her side, and these wounds bleed 
afresh at the hour named, as if just taken 
down from the cross? Is it more difficult, I 
ask, to believe the story of the wizard spel- 
ling guns, than this miraculous story that is 
religiously believed by hundreds of thousands of 
intelligent people all over our broad land? I 
may say I well remember of people coming to m^^ 
father to* get him to mold silver bullets with 
which to kill witches. In fact things every 
whit absurd and unreasonable are believed 
by many people of today, and not the most 
ignorant people either. 


Tlie pitcher that i^oes to the well 

too often is sure to jjet broken. — Pkoverb. 

In closinj^ the tirst part of the "Remini- 
scences,"' it will be necessary to i^o back some 
little way, and relate incidents that had escaped 
our memory. A few days after (J ray's family 
had been murdered by the Indians, the same tribe 
made a raid in the same locality and ruthlessly 
murdered the Morg^an family, consisting of father, 
brother aud one son. As a matter of course 
Jesse Gray was one of the tirst to volunteer his 
valuable services and experience in Indian light- 
ing to wipe out the band of bloody butchers who 
did the work. In this undertaking the famous 
old hunter came near losing his life. 

CJray in company with Josh Addington, 
another old Indian tighter and hunter of note, 
with several others whose names I have forgotten 
pursued and overtook the red men before they 
reached the Mississinewa. Each party was 
mounted, but the reds outnumbered the whites, 
two to one. With such men as Gray, Addington, 
and the other settlers of equal mettle and daring, 
numbers were not considered. The instant the 
whites got in range they opened tire, and the reds 
seeing their advantage in numbers, wheeled about 
and returned the tire with interest. As the aim 
from off a horse was uncertain at best, both sides 
dismounted, and each man took a tree, and fought, 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 63 

his own hook. It soon became apparent, that the 
Indians were too much for the whites, as some of 
their g-uns had {gotten damp and would not fire at 
all, while others had fired his last bullet. The 
Indians being- quick to discover their cidvantag-e, 
were trying- to flank the whites, that is to g-et in 
the rear and surround them; in which case not a 
white man would have escaped. So the order 
was g-iven for each man to mount and save him- 

It was at this critical time that Gray, in at- 
tempting to g"et on his horse, slipped and came 
near falling-, which caused his horse to shy, and for 
a moment, it looked as if Jesse was to fall a victim 
to the now enrag-ed and confident Indians. At 
this point Josh Addington, seeing- the danger of 
his old friend Gray, discovered a big" brave draw- 
ing- a bead on Jesse. Althoug-h his own gun had 
refused to fire for the twentieth time, jumped 
from behind his tree, and in fair view of the In- 
dian, leveled his gun at him, well knowing- it 
would not fire but knowing- just as well that the 
Indian did not know it. At the same time he 
yelled to Gray for heaven sake to mount and get 
away. The ruse had the desired effect; when the 
Indian saw Josh's g-un aimed straight for his 
heart, he dropped his aim from Gray, and jumped 
behind the tree. This little diversion enabled 
Gray and Addington to g-et on their horses and 
get away although the bullets of the red men 
were cutting the brush close around them. 

The fight on the part of the whites, resulted 
in two or three being -wounded; on the part of the 
Indians, it is hard to tell as they invariabl}' re- 

64 PtminiMcence* of the MissisMinewm Country 

move their dead and wounded, even while the 
tij^''ht is on; but it is known that at least one In- 
dian bit the dust, and several others more or less 
severely wounded. 

This was the last raid that was ever made in 
the settlement of the Mississinewa, thou^^h for 
years after, the death of a white man might be- 
laid at the door of an Indian, and as to the In- 
dians, a good one disappeared with almost fright- 
ful rapidity for many years after the Morgan 

Among the early settlers of the Mississinewa 
were Peter Dailey, Joseph Flesher, Tom Shaler 
and several others who found it necessary occas- 
ionally, in order to save the furs caught in their 
traps, to serve notice on bad Indians to imme- 
diately leave the country, and it is needless to 
add they always obej'ed, and never bothered the 
traps more. One of those thieving Indians was 
known bj' the rather peculiar name of Duck. 
Peter Dailey was a very successful trapper, 
and the coon and mink skins that he took in 
were a legal tender for all debts, public and pri- 
vate, and even to paying taxes and entering 
land. It is a fact not generally known that many 
quarter sections of land in this part of the state, 
that are now well improved farms, were entered 
and the price paid in coon skins; so when Peter 
discovered that his traps were being robbed, he 
saw that a nice eighty acre farm on which he 
had been keeping his weather eye, wat likely to 
slip through his fingers if this stealing of his furs 
kept on. 

So Pete told Mr. Duck, plump aud plain that 

Reminiscences nf fhc Mississinewa Cntintry 6.5 

he believed him to be the thief. This he of 
course denied and f^ot fig-htin{:c mad, talked shoot 
and told Peter he must not call him thief or there 
would be serious trouble. Peter told Duck that 
he understood the use of the g"un pretty well him- 
self, and if he was spoiling- for a fig"ht, he might 
sail in whenever it suited his convenience, but 
for the time being all he wanted was his traps 
to be let alone, and if he ever caught the Indian 
at his traps he was a dead Duck sure. For some 
time after, his traps were not molested, which 
convinced him that he had spotted the right man. 

It so happened that year, fur ran away up to 
a fabulous price for those times, and Peter dis- 
covered that although his traps would be set and 
the bait be in its place, there were signs that to 
his practiced eye convinced him that there had 
been a coon or mink in the trap, and it had been 
taken out and the trap reset with the greatest 
care. As a matter of course this made Peter red 
hot and he commenced laying for the thief; but 
in spite of his best efforts he could not catch the 
Indian in the act, nor could he ever catch Duck 
in the vicinity of his traps. Yet the stealing 
went on, and he was dead sure that Duck was 
the thief. 

Finally Peter tumbled to the racket; the cun- 
ning Indian was going to the traps before da^'- 
light. About two o'clock one morning, Peter 
went to one of his surest traps, and concealing" 
himself in easy rifle range, sat down to await 
events. He had waited an hour or more when he 
heard a step going toward the trap; it was too 
dark to make out clearly what the object was 

66 ReminiMcmncta of the Misainainvwa Country 

that stopped by the trap, but throuq^h the gloom 
he finally made out tliat he was a man; he could 
see him stoop down and lake sometliintr from the 
trap, but what puzzled Peter was, how was he 
going to set the trap again and leave everything 
in proper shape as dark as it was; and moreover 
be did not like to risk a shot at that distance in 
the dark, and yet he could not think of letting 
the thief get awaj'. He was soon enlightened, 
and more when the Indian drew a flint and steel 
from his pouch and with a sharp click struck the 
Hint and the sparks drojiped on some dry tow, 
blazed up, and in a moment was applied to some 
dry shavings and soon made a pretty fair but 
small light by which Peter was able to see plain- 
ly the stalwart form of Duck, with a large raccoon 
lying at his feet. The light also enabled him to 
get a good bead on the Indian, and it is presumed his 
gun did not miss tire; but in relating the incident 
Peter onh' said, "Duck did not set the trap and 
he must have went off on a long hunt, for he has 
never been seen in the country since." 

Uncle Joe Flesher had an experience with a 
bad Indian very similar to that of Peter Dailey. 
His traps were being robbed almost daily and he 
had a strong suspicion of who was doing the 
mischief. So he .set out to catch the thief. He 
concealed himself near some of his best traps 
very early in the morning, and about daylight he 
heard a turkey, calling right near one of his traps. 
He listened attentively for a time and fancied 
that the turkey had a rather peculiar call, so 
he waited and refu.sed to answer the call. In a 
few moments he was rewarded by .seeing that 

Rcniinisccncc.'i of the Miani.ssincwa Country 67 

turkey in the shape of the very Indian he was 
looking- for, step up to tlie trap, and after cau- 
tiously lookinj^ in every direction place tlie call 
er to his lips and ^ive a very j^ood imitation 
of the call of a wild Turkey, yet the call was not 
quite enouiJi^h to deceive Uncle Joe Flesher, He 
saw at a g^lance the ruse of the wily red man was 
a good one. His scheme was to give the call of 
the turkey and if it was answered his well trained 
ear would warn him whether it was a man or 
turkey, and if a man he would slip away leaving 
the trap undisturbed; but if answered by a turkey 
he would take the coon or mink from the trap 
and proceed on his way to another trap. I may 
stop here to explain that the turkey caller is 
made from the small bone of the wing" of a tur- 
key and when used by an expert will deceive the 
most cunning old gobbler in the woods, and draw 
him on to his death. The Indian was fooling' with 
a white man that knew the genuine from false call 
of the turkey, as well or better than himself, and 
that's where he made his mistake. 



And your sons and daujjhtcrs shall prophesy, 
and your youn^^ men shall sec visions and 
your old men shall dream dreams. — Bible. 

Hffore enterin«j upon the bear hunt with our 
old friend Gray. I wish to relate an occurrence 
as showinpf how wonderfully stronj^ was the 
belief in dreams, signs and token.*^, of the men 
of fifty years aj.i^o. How almost miraculously some 
of their dreams at least were fulfilled. As said 
in a previous chajiter, my father was one of the 
greatest deer and bear hunters of his time, and 
could boast an achievement that probably could 
not truthfully be claimed by another man in In 
diana or Ohio; and that was that he had killed a 
deer in every 3'ear for sixty years. Of course 
some years he killed many more, but what I mean 
is, that for sixty years there was no year in 
which he did not kill one or more deer. He killed 
his first deer in Rockbridge County. Virginia, 
when he was eleven or twelve years of age, and 
his last one in Jay County, Indiana, when he was 
seventy-two or seventy three. He died in Cara- 
don. Jay Co., Indiana, in 187') at almost HO. 

The story I wish to relate is this: as usual 
in each year when October about 8th to Kith 
came around, our party six, eight or ten were 
ready to start on our annual deer hunt, with a 
two-horse wagon well loaded with bread, corn 
meal, potatoes, sugar and coffee, camp equipage, 
good tent, axes, augurs, saw, etc. We started 

Reminiscence.^ of the Misaissinewa Country 60 

from New Paris, O., and drove to the Mississin- 
ewa, where we were joined by Jesse Gray and 
Charles Sumption another ^reat hunter of the 
time. We hunted for two or three days there 
with rather poor luck; in fact a few wild turkeys, 
squirrels and pheasants were all we had for camp 
meat, which was humiliating" to such hunters as 
composed our camp, Finally Gray, who under- 
stood perfectly the habits and haunts of deer, 
said the game had left the Mississinewa and gone 
to Stillwater, where there was plenty of mast, 
(acorns and beechnuts) and we had better go to 
that river if we expected a successful hunt. 

So next morning we started for Stillwater 
and camped the first night on Greenville creek, 
ten or twelve miles from our destination, which 
was the crossing of Stillwater on the Shanesville 
road twelve or fifteen miles north of Greenville, 
Ohio, and now comes the singular fulfillment of 
the dream. Just at the peep of day next morn- 
ing, father awoke in high good humor, and be- 
fore he had even got out of bed, said, "Boys, ven- 
ison for the pot today, and a fat buck it will be 
too. " 

"Why what are you talking about Lew," 
said old Coon, "we will do mighty well if we 
even reach the camp ground today as bad as the 
roads are.'' 

"No difference" replied father, "we will 
have venison in the pot for supper and a good 
fat buck at that or I will never say dream again; 
for," said he, "I dreamed of cattle in the night 
and I am just as sure of killing a deer when I 
have that dream as I am of living, and if I dream 

70 Reminiacences of the Mississinewa Country 

of cattle with horns it will be a buck, and if I 
dream of muleys it will be a doe or fawn. " 

As the day be^jan to draw to a close and sev- 
eral of the party, especially old Coon Thompson 
bei^an to ^rive it to father about his dream and 
amon^^ other jokes asked him if he would just as 
leave have squirrel for sujjper. 

"No" said he, "nothinjjr but venison j^oes for 
supper this nij^'ht, and rest assured 1 will have 
the venison for the pot by the time the pot is 
ready to boil." So just as we c/o.ssed on the 
bridffe and drove up to a prettj' clear space on 
the north bank and, stopped, the sun was sinkinj^ 
behind the tree tops. 

"Now" said father "some of you take care of 
the horses, others put up the tent and build a 
good tire, and Sam, you jjo down to the river and 
brin;^*^ up some water and set the pot on the lire 
about half filled with water, and I will have the 
venison here when the water boils." So father 
put a fresh cap on his gun and started on a brisk 
walk directly north from camp while the most of 
the hunters gave him the laugh, even Jesse Gray 
himself, a firm believer in dreams and with un- 
bounded confidence in father's skill as a hunter, 
remarked that Lew's dream would certainly fool 
him this time; but about the time the tent was 
raised, and just as I had placed the pot over a 
bright fire in front of the tent, — bang! we heard 
father's gun ring" clear and sharji. Every man 
raised to his feet, and intently listened for our 
signal which was "Tally Ho," and signifies "I 
have kilh'd the game and need help;'" but instead 
of Tally Ho, came the no less exciting request, 

Reminiscences of I he Mississinewa Country 7/ 

"Brinj:^ the doj,''s and be in a hurry about it: I 
have wounded a bi;^ buck." 

We liad three as j^ood Virj^inia deer h(mnds 
as ever jji^ave tonf^ue on a track, and ycMi may be 
sure that every man left the task he mi«(ht be at 
and started on the run lor tatlier, witli tlie do|^s. 
We did not have more tlian two hundred yards 
to go, and before we reached father, the doj^s 
had struck the track and had the deer on the go; 
but he was a game deer and the wickedest one I 
ever saw, and the excitement for a few minutes 
was of tlie griindest kind, but came very near l)e- 
ing serious if not fatal to brother Jim. 

It is very rare indeed that a good hound will 
ever take hold of a deer or bear, and our dogs 
were no exception to the rule; they would stand 
and bay the buck but when he pitched at one of 
them they would get out of his way in a hurry; 
and with the dogs charging and retreating, it 
was difficult to get a dead shot at the buck for 
fear of killing a dog. Every time the deer caught 
sight of a hunter he started for him, with his 
hair turned the wrong way, and liis eyes blazing 
like two balls of fire, and that hunter had to 
climb a sapling or get a big tree between him 
and the buck in mighty short order. In the ex- 
citement, father had overlooked me standing 
there enjoying the sport without a gun or even a 
club, all unmindful of the great danger in which 
I was placed. When he discovered me he fairly 
screamed, "Run for your life boy and climb up 
on that big log." You know that for once, at 
least, I obeyed him without grumbling and about 
the time I had got safe on the log, our best dog 

72 Reminiacenixs of the Atississinewa Country 

in runninj^ away from the buck had run ag^ainst a 
tree which knocked him over, and before he 
could recover the buck jump«*d on him with his 
sharp hoofs and horns and wasdoinj,^ the poor dog 
up in great shape. 

Jim could not stand this as the dog belonged 
to him. and was a favorite of all the party; so he 
stepped boldly forth and stood within fifteen 
steps of the deer, witli his gun to his shoulder 
ready for a shot the first opportunity. Tl»e 
moment the deer saw Jim, he It^ft the dog and 
pitched at him. Jim who was a man of nerve 
stood like a statue awaiting the charge of the 
buck; and when the deer was within two jumps 
of him, we were all horrified to hear his gun snap. 
It was too late to retreat, so Jim dropped his gun 
and reached for his tomahawk, but before he 
could g'et it from his belt the enraged buck had 
raised on his haunches for the leap that would 
have borne Jim to the ground, and possibly end- 
ed his hunting adventures then and there, but 
fortunately at this critical moment, the sharp 
crack of a rifle rang out and the buck fell dead 
at Jims feet. Uncle Joe, seeing the dang^er in 
which Jim was placed, and realizing that some- 
thing must be done, and that instantly, had tak- 
en a snap shot and his bullet had broken the 
buck's neck. It is needless to say that every- 
body was happy, and in much less time than it 
takes to record it, the deer was carried to the 
camp, dressed, and the big" pot was boiling mer- 
rily, well fileld with the fat ribs of the deer, 
while the hunters sat around the bright camp 
tire waiting impatiently for the meat to get done. 

Reminiscences of l/ic Alississinewa Country 71 

Of course Uncle Joe was the li(;ro oi Uie Ikjup, f<jr 
niakiiij!^'' the capital and ditlicult shot that proba- 
bly saved the life ol brother Jini, while father 
roasted old Coon Thompson over making'- lij,''ht of 
his dream. We found },''ame so abundant that in 
less tlian a week we returned home to New Paris 
with all the meat and honey we could haul. 

Now for the bear hunt. When Jesse Gray 
was living*- over south of the Mississinewa about 
three or four miles, he was the proud i)Ossessor 
of just one hoj.,'', which he kept in a stout lof,*" pen 
near the house thinking- the nearness tO the 
house would protect the porker from the ravages 
of bears and wolves which were very abundant 
at that time. Be it remembered hog^s were hog's 
in the country, and it was not every settler that 
could boast of even one hog-, so we may imag^ine 
the surprise and ang^er of Jesse, "^when he went 
out one morning- to feed that same hog", to find 
the pen empty and a hug^e bear track g-oing- to 
and from the pen. Jesse stood mute in surprise 
for a moment and then he said some thing's very 
uncomplimentary about that bear. But Gray 
was a man of action and his mind was soon made 
up. He went to the house and said to his^wife, 
"Get to work rig-ht away and bake me enough 
corn dodg^ers to last me at least three days. '" 
"What in the name of sense are you up to now 
all of a sudden," said Mrs. Gray. "Why an in- 
fernal bear has come and carried away'our only 
hog;, and I'm going for that bear. If this snow 
don't melt away too soon I'll have that bear's 
hide before you see me ag-ain. " 


It was nip and tuck, but tuck had it. 

When the old lad}' heard of the loss of the hog, 
she went to work with a will and b}' the time 
Jesse had his gun in the best of trim and a good 
supply of bullets run, she had the corn bread 
ready; Jesse, i)utting the bread in the sack which 
he slung over his shoulder, started on the bear's 
track. A good tracking snow, and all the water 
courses frozen over, ver}* much favored the pur- 
suit. The bear had started north for the Miss- 
issinewa, and in about a quarter of a mile from 
the house found where Bruin had stopped and en- 
joyed a hearty meal off the hog and had dragged 
the rest to one side and covered it over with 
leaves and twigs for future reference. He did 
not go but a mile or so until he started the bear 
but did not see him. He increased his speed and 
was not long in giving that bear to understand 
that he had a nemesis on his track as stern and 
unrelenting as fate itself. 

The track led on north until it crossed the 
Salamonia, then he turned eastward and crossed 
the Wabash near Ft. Recovery. By this time he 
was getting pretty tired and manifested a desire 
to rest by lying down in a thicket every now and 
then, but it was no go; Gray was in sight of the 
bear one-fourth of the time and might have had 
several shots, but that was not exactly the idea 
of the hunter; his wood-craft taught him that if 
he pursued long enough, the hear would return 

Rominincences of the Miaaissinewa Country 75 

for a meal off the hog-. After crossinf^ the Wa- 
bash he turned south, and bej^'an to show siffnsof 
beinj^ very tired. By this time, nif^ht was at 
hand, and the ordinary liunter would have en- 
camped for the nij^lit, but Jesse Gray was no 
ordinary hunter; he had V^een raised in the woods 
and inured to all the hardships of frontier life, 
and consequently as touj^h as a whale bone. 80 
he kept Mr, Bear movin}^ till near midnig'ht, at 
which time he could no lonj^er see the track in 
the snow, as the moon had gone down. He hunt- 
ed some dry wood, took out his flint and steel, 
(matches were not thouj^^-ht of at that time) and 
struck a spark in some dry tow and soon had a 
bright fire. After a good square meal of corn 
bread, he lay down by the fire and was very soon 
enjoying nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep. 

At the peep of day, Gray was up and away 
on the track, not even taking time to eat his 
lunch but attended to that affair as he followed 
the animal he was bent on destro^ang. The bear 
had gone but a short distance until he, too, tum- 
bled down in a tree top for a much needed rest. 
On the approach of Gray he got up but was so 
terribly stiff and sore that he showed signs of 
fight, and Jesse could have killed him then and 
there, but that was too far from home. Jesse 
seeing he had the bear at his mercy, concluded to 
drive him right back if possible to the spot 
where he had killed the hog, and there take his 
sweet revenge. He threw a club at the bear, 
which had the desired effect and started him off 
in a slow and sullen walk. For a while Gray 
was in sight of the game all the time, but as 

76 Reminiscences of thv Mississinewa Country 

bruin bej^an to warm up, his stilTeiied muscles re- 
laxed. He bef^^an to jfet up a rate of speed that 
astonished Jesse, and he beg^an to think perhaps 
he had miscalculated the endurance of the bear 
and possibly lost his opportunity. This caused 
him to accelerate his own speed, and for several 
miles it was nip and tuck, but tuck was the win- 
ner and soon had the pleasure of again be- 
\nii in si.i^'ht of his hated enemy. 

The chase led across the Mississinewa to the 
south, and aj^ain back and the river to the 
north, then he turned down the river in exactly 
the course Gray wished him to go. When he got 
down about two miles above whert- Ridgeville 
now stands, he crossed the river again, going al- 
most straight for Gray's home and he .thought 
he would have the pleasure of killing the bear 
right at home; but Jesse himself was beginnins/ 
to weaken, and the bear would turn and growl 
and show tight frequently, and as it was getting 
near sunset, and he was only two miles or less 
from home he concluded to bring the hunt to a 
close; so he sat down on a log to rest for a mo 
mer^t and the bear dropped over in a treetop and 
in a minute was sleeping his last sleep. Gray 
walked up to within twenty feet of the bear and 
taking a good sight for the bruin, tired, and bruin 
was done hog stealing. He was an immense 
bear, weighing fully live hundred pounds. 

Je.sse took off the animal's hide, and after 
hanging the carcass up out of the way of wolves, 
he reached home just at dark, the most exhaus- 
ted he ever was in his life, and almost as well 
satisfied as if he had wiped out an Indian. The 

Reminiscences of the Misaissinewa Country 7 7 

meat of the bear he sent down the river on a Hat 
boat where it br(ju/^'"lit him twent}' dollars, and 
the hide was sold to an Indian trader at Rich- 
mond for ten dollars, making in all thirty dollars 
for his two day's hunt; enough he said to buy 
him twenty hog's better than the one taken by 
the bear. "Besides" said the old man, "the 
satisfaction of kiUiiiiH" that b'ar, was worth more 
than the money. " 

As this is probably the last time our hero, 
Jesse Gray, will appear in the Reminiscences I 
will here state the last time I heard the old man 
speak of his thrilling- experiences with the red 
men, he seemed to regret that he had been so 
hard on them, althoug^h the provocation had been 
great. He had become quite a zealous Christian, 
(Methodist I believe) and probably felt that 
"Vengeance is mine saith the Lord", and if his 
eventful life was to be lived over, he would leave 
vengeance to the Lord. The grand old man, 
hero, hunter and Indian slayer, died in Noble 
township, Jay County, Indiana, at the advanced 
age of four score, in 1872, and was buried in the 
cemetery at Camden, Jay County, Indiana, where 
a decent monument should mark his last resting' 

Among the pioneer hunters of the Mississin- 
ewa was Tom Shaler. I remember of his telling- 
how dilticulc it was to get ammunition, especial- 
ly lead. So very careful was he of the lead that 
he would not shoot at the deer until he got the 
deer directly between him and a big tree, so that 
if the ball passed through the deer it would lodg^e 
in the tree, where the hunter would cut it out and 

78 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

mold it into a bullet afjfain. I have had pointed 
out to me near Camden a lar/^'^e oak tree with 
two notches cut out where Shaler shot two deer 
on the same day and saved both bullets. This 
sounds funny to us now — but {grandmother Ward 
has often told me about the squirrels beinjj so de- 
structive on the corn, that they were oblif^ed to 
shoot them t)r have no corn, and lead beinj^ 
scarce and costly, that she would put a small 
g^rain of corn or a bean in the bullet molds and 
run the lead in around it, thereby savinj,*^ one- 
half or two-thirds of the lead. 

In our next chapter we will tell about the 
flat boats that were built on the south side of the 
river just between the waj^^on and railroad 
bridj^'^es, and there loaded and sent down the riv- 
er, and the produce bartered for such ji^oods as 
the settlers needed in those days. It will be 
news to .some of my youn^^er readers, to know 
that the Mi.ssissinewa was at one time declared 
navij^^able as far up as Ward's crossinjj, now 


A ship in distress is a wonderful sijjht, 
It is worse than two armies a iJoin' to fijjht 
For a soldier can throw down his jjun and run, 
While a seaman must submit to a watery tomb. 

Burlesque, on Raging Canal. 

As said in the last chapter, the Mississinewa 
was at one time a navijjfable river as far up as 
Ridj^'-eville, at that time Ward's crossing. As 
strang'e as it may seem now, g'ood sized Hat boats 
were built here, and the amount of different kinds 
of produce one of these boats would carry, is 
simply marvelous. Sometimes a whole fleet of 
these boats were built and anchored at the same 
time. The building- of the flat boat was an art 
that was possessed by a very few. Among the 
chief of the builders, I have been informed, were 
Grandfather Joab Ward, Arthur McKew, and 
John Sumption, father of Mahlon Sumption, 
President of the Ridgeville Bank at this time. 
Of course there were many others that worked 
on the boat building' and as the boat was built 
bottom side up, it required the whole settlement 
to turn one over. The turning' of a boat was a 
holiday, and the feats of streng^th performed on 
these occasions would astonish the athlete of to- 
day. No block and tackle, jack screws, derricks, 
steam hoisting' machines, were known, but every 
man put his shoulder to the wheel, or rather the 
boat and over she went. One boat in the fleet, 
at least, had a cabin, built about the center, in 
which the cooking was done. 

80 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

In the meantime, while the boat was build- 
ing, the produce with which it was to be loaded 
was beinp;^ collected and stored in a warehouse 
built near where the G. R. & I. watertank now 
stands. The basement was an excellent place to 
store fruit, butter, pork, honey, etc., while the 
u])per story, built of hewn log's, was used for 
storinj^ furs, pelts, dried fruits and such articles 
as had to be kept dry. The warehouse was built 
and owned by .Toab Ward, and was a great con- 
venience to the settlers wishing to shi]i goods down 
the raging Mississinewa. and even unto this 
day, my mouth waters to think of the big bell- 
flowers and rambos that Joel and I used to purloin 
from that cellar. 

After the boat was built and the produce all 
to be loaded there was another very essential 
requisite for a successful voyage aud the time for 
this was somewhat uncertain. It sometimes 
occurred almost every month in the year, and at 
other times it might be almost a year without 
occurring at all. This much desired event was a 
freshet or high water; for be it known the path- 
way of the navigator was strewn with many 
dangerous obstructions; if the water was not high 
enough, his boat was liable to run square into a 
big rock that would be concealed just a few 
inches beneath the surface. If the boat hap- 
pened to be in a ripple and going at a high speed, 
it was liable to stave a hole in it and cause it to 
sink; or, as sometimes happened, the boat would be 
so firmly lodged on the rock that it had to remain 
there until there came liigher water and floated it 
off; or, they might unload it, and thus lightened, 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 81 

would free itself, and be reloaded and another 
start made. But this process required so much 
work it was only resorted to when all else failed. 
One of the early settlers tells me of a fleet of 
twelve boats that were built here and loaded 
with charcoal, and in addition to the coal, the 
firm of Edf,''er & Co., of Deerfield, had on one of 
the boats several hundred dollars worth of furs. 
The boats had been built of g-reen timber, and 
by inexperienced workmen, and the consequence 
was that when they were launched they were al- 
most ready to sink of their own weig"ht. By 
careful handling-, the most of them got down as 
far as the McKinney Dam, now Pairview; when 
the big, or family boat reached the dam, it was 
a question whether or no it would ride the dam 
with safety. Two or three of the most experi- 
enced sailors volunteered to make the attempt to 
shoot the dam. When all was ready they put 
the boat in the swiftest current, and the water 
was the deepest on the dam; they put on all the 
steam (the steam was stored in a jug in the pilot 
house) and let her go. The attempt was a "dam'" 
failure. The boat ran about one-third over the 
dam and there stopped, and no power possessed 
by the crew could budge it an inch. After re- 
maining there several days, and when ever}^ plan 
to get it off had failed, it was finally abandoned. 
The goods were' unloaded on shore by means of 
canoes, and Edger & Co. were compelled to take 
their furs back to Deerfield and wait for another 
and better fleet of boats. While the other boats 
were strung- along the river from the starting 
point to the McKinney dam; some sank to the 

82 Reminisctnoes of the Afisaiisinewa Country 

bottom and were seen no more until the water 
went down later in the summer; while others 
were run to the shore and there left, and all the 
blacksmiths in the country had charcoal for two 
or tliret* years just for the hau^m}^^ After the 
coal was all unloaded, the boats were taken 
away by the settlers, and hof^-^-pens were made 
of them. It is useless to say that the charcoal 
merchant was forced to the wall with liabilities 
up in the hundreds, and assets, nix. In other 
words, he was badly broken up, and left the 
country in disK'ust. 


No, his name on the note is not sufficient; 
it used to be, but I have noticed, that wlien 
a man sells a jjood farm, and ^oes into mer- 
chantile business, and lets others sell his 
j^oods on commission he is about sure to 
come to j^rief. — Uncmc Jimmik Moorman. 

As tlie country was cleared uj) and ditches 
cut so tlie water could run off, the Mississinewa 
came to an end. Besides the roads were g-ettinf^ 
so the trips could- be made with wagons, and the 
salt, ammunition, etc., that the settlers were 
obliged to have, were brought from Richmond, 
Piqua, and other points within reach. 

At this time there were no bridges or foot 
logs across the river, which necessitated each 
settler keeping a canoe or dug- out, and it would 
astonish the professional oarsman of today to 
see how one of the old settlers, with only a sin- 
gle paddle could run across, or up. and down the 
swiftest current. 

The canoe business often led up to quarrels 
among the settlers; unfortunately, people quar- 
reled and took the advantage of each other verj- 
much as they do toda^'', and probably will until 
Gabriel blows his trumpet. Among some of the 
rather eccentric characters of the early times 
were Edward McKew, who lived on the farm now 
owned by Mrs. Elmira McKew^ and Ezekiel Roe 
who lived on the farm now^ belonging' to our 
old friend, Joe Nicholson. It so happened that 
Roe had a canoe which he prized verj- highly, 

S4 Remintscenccs of the Mississinewa Country 

for it had many a time and oft carried him and 
his friends across the rat^inj^'^ river, when miles 
would have had to been traveled to cross in any 
other way. So Zeke's rajje may be imagined 
when one morninjj he went down the river to 
cross, and found his canoe split into smithereens. 
Of course somebody done it, and as he and McKew 
were not on the best of terms, he at once jumped 
to the conclusion that the vandal was Edward 
McKew. It is said that when Zeke would accuse 
Edward in the presence of witne.sses, Edward 
would den}' it in the most emphatic lan{,'^uag"e; 
but when they were alone old Edward would say 
"Of course I split your d — d old canoe, but you 
can't jirove it, and I would like to see you help 
yourself." The story ^oes that when they would 
meet in a crowd, Zeke would say, "Old Edward 
McKew you split my canoe," and McKew woyld 
reply, "Old Zekiel Roe, how do you know?" 
They tinally went to law over the trouble, and it 
cost almost a farm to each, and then wound up 
by a terrible hard tist tight in Winchester, in 
which the honors were about even, according to 
.some of my informants, and others say that both 
were the victors, according to their individual 

It is no wonder these early settlers had their 
cjuarrels and ditticulties when we rellect that the 
stock were allowed to run at large, and the fences 
were of the poorest kind, and when stock did 
break in, there was no Justice of the Peace handy 
like there is today. Auother fruitful source of 
trouble was the trai)])ing of furs. The trai)s 
would be robbed, and somebody was sure to be 

Rentinuicenccn of the Missisaincwa Country 85 

accused of it. Ori'^ man would find a hx^e tree 
and place liis mark on it and wln^n he went to 
cut the tree and pfet the honey, he would find 
that somebody had been there and cut his tree 
and secured possibly a barrel of honey. In fact 
there were a tliousand thinj^s for the early set- 
tlers to quarrel about that do not exist today. 
One of the incidents of the time we write about 
occurred between Joab Ward and Ben Llewellyn; 
the two men had been rather bitter toward each 
other for some time, and of course there were 
busy bodies to carry threats from one to the 
other, until thinj,'"s be}i;an to look serious, as both 
men were known to possess enouj:fh of the back 
woods g-rit to make it interesting' if they came to- 
gfether. It so fell that one day these men met in 
the woods over south of the River Side school 
house. Each had his ever ready and trusty rifle 
with him, and it was almost out of the question 
to avoid a more or less fatal meeting-, so after 
discussing their differences and coming- to no 
amicable understanding', Joab stepped over to 
Ben and raising" the cap that covers the powder 
in the pan of the flint lock told B-en to observe 
that the powder was perfectly dry, and there 
was no dangler of the gmn missing" Are. With this 
somewhat pointed observation, they each turned 
and went their way, in the meantime keeping" his 
eye on the other until they were out of sig'ht and 
gun shot. 

Joab told of a close call he had from a source 
he little expected. My readers will remember a 
pond arid thicket just a few rods this side of the 
house occupied at present by Date Simmons; in 

86 Rem in i a efnet s of the Missiasinewa Country 

that pond a man had concealed himself as a hired 
assassin to shoot Joab as he was returning: on 
horseback from Kichmond, where he had been to 
mill. He lay there in wait with his rifle restinj^'^ 
on a lo|^: and when Joab came ridinf^ alonj^ all 
unsusj)ectin|^ danger, and feelinj,'^ triad that his 
trip would soon be at an end and his family sup- 
plied with bread, which was an item at that early 
day, the assassin drew a bead on Joab and his 
tint^a'r lij,'htly pressed the trif^ger; but when in 
after years he was relatinj.,'^ the incident and Joab 
asked him why he did not tire, he said, "My 
heart failed me when I thouj^^ht of the many kind 
acts of yours, and the times I had partaken of 
j'our hospitality, and when I tried to press the 
trif^'^Sfer my tinj^er refused to move. He told 
j.,'-randfather who had hired him to do the dirty 
work, but as all the actors in that almost traj^a^d}' 
have long- passed from the stag^e I will not name 

One of the amusing incidents connected with 
the flat boating- I will relate as a //na/e of boat- 
ing on the Mississinewa. A gentleman had fitted 
up a boat and loaded it with a cargo of venison, 
hams, honey, corn, dried fruits, furs, pelts, etc.. and 
started it down the river consigned to a commis- 
sion merchant at Atica on the Wabash canal. He 
expected the load to bring enough to pay for one 
liundred and sixty acres of land which he expect- 
ed to enter, when he received the money for his 
cargo. He waited and waited to hear from the 
commission merchant and as no news came he 
wrote the merchant to know if the goods were 
.sold, and if not, why not. After he had waited 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 87 

until his patience was nearly exhausted he re- 
ceived word that the j^-oods were sold, and the 
followinjiif bill the merchant informcfl him wouUl 
be deducted for his trouble: 

Stora^re ij; 25 00 

Drayag-e $ 20 00 

Boataj-e $ 30 00 

Shrinkajjfe $ 15 00 

Commissiona^e S 40 00 

Total $130 00 

This left the shipper about sixty dollars for 
his load. He sat down and sent the merchant 
the followin<r reply: "You d — d infernal villain, 
put in STEALAGE and keep it all. " 


You had better catch your lion, 
before you sell his hide. — Pkovkkb. 

There are two incidents which I had for{,'"ot- 
ten to relate that proi)erly belonix to the first 
part of the Retniniscences. One of them rather 
comical and the other the reverse. I have men- 
tioned in a former chapter, the perfection with 
which an expert could imitate the call of the 
wild turkey, with the small bone from the win^ 
of a turkey; indeed it would sometimes ])uzzle the 
oldest hunter to tell whether he was listen in^^ to 
the call of a real turkey or to some one of his 
mischievous ueif^hbors tryinj^ to play a joke on 

About forty-five years a^o. .John Bell, living 
three or four miles north of the Mississinewa, 
was havinj^ a j )lly time shootin}^ the wild tur- 
keys that daily come into one of his fields to pick 
up the scattered yrain. Living- near him was a 
family nnmed Harshman; one of the Harshman 
boj's, knowing of Bell's ]iicnic with the turkey's 
proposed to another bo}' about as mischievous as 
himself, that they slip out to the field ahead of Bell 
and have some tail fun with him b}' calling like 
the turkey and getting him to follow them until 
they got the l.tugh on him. Everything worked 
to a charm. The boys got in the edge of the 
woods on the opposite side of the field from 
Bell, and when he would call, the boys would 
answer him, and then nearly split their sides 

Reminiscences f>f the Mississinewa Country HO 

lau^''hin^ to think how they were foolinj^ him. 
Whenever Bell would try to make a sli[) fMi tlit- 
turkeys the boys woiihl chanj^e posititMis and 
Iceej) slippjn;^' around the field, all the while ans- 
wering Jiell every time he <^ave a call until they 
had him badly puzzled. I^Mnally Bell concluded 
that if he could not find the turkeys, he would 
let the turkeys hunt him. So he sat down on a 
loj4" where he could see all over the field and have 
a g^ood shot from any point. He quit callinj^ and 
waited, and soon the turkeys bej^an to call very 
lively, and still he would not answer, but kept a 
sharp lookout across the field. His silence 
seemed to puzzle the boys and younj^ Harsliman 
concluded he would in vestifjate. He told the other 
boy to keep still and he would see what had be- 
come of Bell. He wore a black sealskin cap which 
was common at that day, and when he climbed 
upon the fence that cap, at the distance Bell was 
away, made a j^ood turkey. Bell took a j^ood 
sig'ht and fired. When the ^un cracked, turke}' 
dropped. ''There" said Bell, "I thought I would 
fool you at last" so he crossed over to g"et his tur- 
key which he was sure he had killed. And when 
he reached the spot he was horrified to see not a 
big- turkey but his neighbor boy Harshman lay- 
ing- dead with a bullet through his brain. The 
other boy when he saw Harshman fall from the 
fence at the crack of the g'un, broke for home on 
the dead run. There was no coroner at that daj' 
but Mr. Bell was tried at the bar of public 
opinion and exonerated from any blame whatever 
in the matter. But the sad accident seemed to 
cast a shadow^ over the life of John Bell, and it 

90 Reniiniswnves of the Afississinewa Country 

is said he would never handle a },^un afterwards. 

The other Reminiscence is of an entirely ditTer 
ent character. At the time nu-ntioned. there lived 
in this country a neVr do well but jolly, happy i^o 
lucky man named .lim Hoa^^^land. Jim cared 
more for his j.jun and doa; than for the ax and 
plow, and the consequence was that he was fre 
quently tinancially embarrassed. Uncle Joe Ed- 
ger at that time kept a i.jeneral store at Deer 
field, where you could buy anythiu}.,'^ from a cam 
brie needle to a t,'^rindstone. One day in the fall 
of the year, Jim rushed into Edj^a^r's store in a 
very hasty and eag"er manner and asked Joe what 
he would ]>ay for the bif,^}.,'^est buck skin in the 
country, lie wanted to buy .some powder and 
lead on the trade, and the rest he wcmld take in 
tobacco, su^^ar and coffee. Joe told him he would 
like to see the skin, .so he could fix a price on it. 
"Oh. never mind," said Jim, "it is the largest 
deer in the country; why I tell you he has horns 
on his head like a rockinjjf chair, and is as large 
as any other two deer skins" and I would like to 
get the powder and lead and the rest I will trade 
out some other time." "Well'" said Joe, "bring 
in the hide and I will pay you all it is worth." 
"Oh, darn it," said Jim, "what's the use to be so 
particular. I haven't killed the deer yet but 
know I can if I can get the jjowder and lead." 
Joe told him they had quit buying deer skins on 
foot, and if he got the goods he would have to 
bring in the pelt first. Jim left in a bad humor, 
declaring he would deal no more with people 
who were so d — d particular. 

Before there was any bridge across the river 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewu Country 91 

the settlers <^ot toj:cetlier an(J put uj) foot lo^s. 
The one that was put across the river here stood 
about midway between the wajjon and railroad 
bridj^'cs. And about the middle of the river was a 
l()<^'pen built in the form of a trianj^le and tilled with 
larfj;"e rocks to keep it from lloatinf^ away durin;^ 
hig^h water. I have often wondered how they 
ever ^''ot those liutre stones u|) in the pens. I 
asked Zeke Ivoe how it was done. "By main 
strenj^^'th and awkwardness," said Zeke; "we g'ot 
tog"ether on the day the foot lo^*" was to be put 
up, and by the use of skids we simply put on the 
power and raised them rocks by actual strenj^th. 
Men could lift them days. We now have to have 
a derrick and block and tackle, and the work is 
done without the men doinj^'' a lick. " 

In our next chapter we will tell about the 
first bridg"e that was built across the Mississin- 
ewa River and many other thingfs connected with 
the first settling' of Ridgfeville and the Mississin- 
ewa country. 



eiiAPrEK Wll. 

The clock stopped short never to run a^aiu, 
When the old man died. 

The first bridji^o across the Mississiiiewa at 
Uulj^'^evilk' was an event of j^reat importance to 
the i)eo])le of this community at that clay. When 
the tiat went forth that we were actually to have 
a \onii talked cf, and much needed bridj,'e, it was an 
occasion for {general rejoicin^^, for be it remem- 
bered, that when there was a j,''eneral Hood, which 
was much more freqULMit then than now, the 
only resource left those cauj^ht with teams 
away from home on the wron}^ side of the 
river, was to drive around to Deertield east, 
or to Stubenville west, or take the chances of 
swimminyf the river here at a terrible swift 
ford. Even for foot passenj^ers it was very difti- 
cult to cross, for it almost invariably happened 
that at each freshet the foot iojjf was swe})t away, 
and had it not Ijeeu for a canoe or duji'out kept by 
(iraiidfathcr Ward, communication between the 
north and south would have been entirely cut off. 
Another mode of crossin}^ with waj,'"on and team 
was sometimes resorted to. If the foot loj,'^ was 
still left, they would unload, carry the jjfoods 
across on the \off, then take the wajjfon all apart 
and carry it over bodily, i)iece by piece, and then 
swim the horses over which was easily and j^^en- 
erally safely done. While this mode was tedious, 
it was better than to wait a week t)r more for the 
river to subside, or drive ten to twenty miles 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 93 

around to another bridg-e over such roads as we 
had at that day. 

I recall one circumstance, of rather a peculiar 
and sensational nature tiiat occurred at a time* 
that bridge and \w)i \(.)\f were; botii <4"()ne and \.\ut 
canoe was the only uKKle of crossinj,'^ the river. 
A babe of only a few months old had died across 
the river, and after bein^ properly placed in the 
coffin, a party of us was to brin<4" it over to this 
side and inter in the old cemetery near the M. E. 
Church of today. I can only remember a few of 
the little jj^roup of sympathizing.,'' friends that took 
the little coffin in the canoe and started across 
the swift-running" and rather dangerous Missis- 
sinewa. I am pretty sure that Joel and Joab 
Ward and myself were three of the party at least. 

Joel took the paddle and rudder as he could 
paddle a canoe to a dot, having" learned the science 
from his father. The rest of us sat Hat down 
in the canoe to act as a kind of ballast. Indeed 
great care was absolutely necessary, as the little 
craft was loaded to the very gunwale (whatever 
that is) and was liable to swamp the whole crew 
at any moment; but all went well until we had 
nearly reached the shore, when some unfortunate 
wretch in his haste to land by a sudden lurch, 
fixed the center of gravity all on the larboard 
side, and over we went. The coffin started down 
stream, but someone luckily made a grab for it 
and secured it and we all reached the shore alive, 
(except the corpse) wetter, colder, but wiser men. 
Willing hands were waiting on this side and the 
little bod}' was decently buried. 

Notwithstanding the great rejoicing" over the 

94 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

buildinj;^ of the new bridg-e it resulted in a trag- 
edy before it was even fairly under way. The 
place where the trustees wished to i>ut the new 
bridj,^<' did not suit Kdward McKew who owned 
tlie land on which the south end of the bridge 
was built. He was a man of most violent and 
uncontrolable temper, and wanted the bridge 
placed farther down the river at the old ford. 
There stood at the south end of the bridge a 
large elm tree that in some way interfered with 
the construction. This the men commenced to 
cut out of the way, while the old gentleman stood 
and cursed and threatened with vengeance dire, 
but the men went on with the chopping. This at 
last threw the old man into such a towering pas- 
sion that he fell in a tit, his head striking the 
sharp corner of one of the timbers, cutting a 
deep gash in his forehead. He was picked up 
and it was noticed that the wound failed to bleed; 
the unfortunate old man had dropjx'd dead, and 
never breathed after he fell. Hut the bridge 
was completed and was a great convenience for 
many years until one of the periodical floods car- 
ried it away, when a better one was built, which 
eventually met the same fate and went down the 
river, making way for the nice substantial stone 
and iron bridge of today. 

From the advent of the first bridge. Ridg'e- 
ville might be said to have a fair start on the 
road to prosperity. The old Cincinnati & Ft. 
Wayne R. R. was located and work began on it. 
Arthur McKew built the commodious store house 
on the north west corner of Main and Walnut 
Streets, and put in a stock of goods of several 

Reminiscences of the Missiaainewa Country 9S 

thousand dollars, wliile Koburt Sumptitjn built 
the hotel on the southwest corner of Main and 
Walnut, at tliat time lh<- best hotel between 
Richmond and Ft. Wayne, and as stated. Star- 
buck and Kitseltnan had a well stocked store in 
the room on Main Street, liobert Jones had a 
^'"rocery in the new l)nildin<4" where the town 
pump is now a fixture. S. Odel built the dwel- 
lin<^ now occupied by Marslial A. .). Wood. Wm. 
Carlton put up an excellent sawmill in the south- 
west corner of the crossin},'' of the G. R & I. and 
Pan Handle R. R. Skilled mechanics came and 
settled here, and Ridgeville was'fairly launched 
as a prosperous town. 

Having' the most beautiful rind liealthful lo- 
cation of any town in this ()art of the state, it is 
no wonder we prospered and are today the envy 
of surrounding- towns. The burninjj of our new 
and beautiful school building, last fall was a sad 
blow to our town, but if our able and enterpris- 
ing' citizens would manifest just a modicum of the 
enterprise of forty years ag^o, we would see arise 
from the ruins, Phoenix like, a more beautiful 
and substantial building^, and before the autumn 
leaves take on their tints of silver and gold, our 
boys and .i^irls would have an educational home 
they might well feel proud of. ''So mote it be. '' 
Since the first railroad location Ridgeville has 
never experienced a boom, but for steady and 
substantial improvement, we don't take a back 
seat for any town in the state. 


"I layed down at the spring to drink 

Dear Tom, I started so 
To see how sadly I had changed 

Since forty years ago. Old Song. 

Fort}' yearsi So .short a tinif for such a 
chanj^^el What wonderful events have taken 
place in that comparatively short space of time. 
The jfreatest civil war of history has been fouirht 
and won. Four million of human slaves have 
been made freemen. Two of our illustrious Pres- 
idents elected by the people, and for the people 
have been ruthle.ssly assassinated. The tele- 
phone, the phono^'ra]>h, had a man even suj^^trest- 
ed forty years a^^o he would have been placed in 
an asylum, have become accomplished facts. In 
that forty years what wonderful chanfjes have 
been wrouj^rht in Kidj,''eville and the Mississinewa 
country, as well as with the people. Where are 
the old friends that were the men and women of 
forty years ajfoy AlasI all but a very few hare 
passed into that mysterious unknown we call 
death; aye, and in some cases even forg^otten. Is 
it a wonder then, that we of three score and up- 
ward, when we stoop at the ])early sprinj.,'' for a 
drauy:ht of the pure, cool and refreshinj.^ bever- 
ag"e, are startled when we behold the fearful rav- 
ag"es that inexorable time has made with our 
features which we .see reflected from the mirrored 
surface of the pure sprinjj water; all within that 
brief period, forty yearsi But why moralize; and 

Reminiscencea of Ihc Mississinewa Country 97 

yet we can not refrain IVcjiii sayinj^" that we 
would have things dilTerent if we had our way. 
First when the man had readied three score and 
had learned how to live for hiinsell aixl human- 
ity, we would start him Inickward in lime until 
he reached twenty-one; then lie could enjoy forty 
years of life that would be worth livini^^; we 
would have it that in place of catchinj^- small pox 
and other contagions, when he met a bij,'', rf)bust 
hearty man he could touch him and catch f;"ood 
health instead of disease; as Ingersoll puts it, we 
would have it that each" a<,^riculturist could have 
rain on his own farm just when he needed it with- 
out interfering" with his neighbor; we would not 
visit the iniquities of the parent on the children, 
who are not to blame, but if the old folks choose 
to eat sour grapes, let their own teeth ache for it. 
We would have each child born with brains 
enough to make his way in the world, without 
being a slave to those born with better intellects 
and abundance of worldly goods ready at hand. 
Many other things we would change, but we 
don't expect nor ask anybod}^ to believe we 
could better it if we had the power; with all due 
respect to those who differ with us we leave it, 
and as we started to write Reminiscences of 
Ridgeville, we pause to ask, "Where are we at?"' 
The Reminiscences may properly be said to 
be in two parts; the first embracing" the tragedy 
or serious part, which we have gathered from 
the men taking part in them and from the tra- 
ditions of the early settlement of the Mississin- 
ewa; the second part being the comedy of the 
last forty years, in which the writer played, if 

98 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

not exactly the part of the "Star," at least that 
of a moderate stock actor. 

At the time we write about, Ri(lj^a*ville altho* 
not a liowlinK" wilderness, was a very different 
])lace from the Ridj^'^eville of to-day: we used 
to shoots(iuirrels where the beautiful M. K. Church 
and and parsonaije now stands: all that territory 
west of Walnut street and north of vJrd street was 
a nice oak i^nove and the home of the ])heasant, 
squirrel, rabbit and occasionally the wild turkey. 
I once sliot a larj^^e wild turkey from an oak that 
stood where the brick saloon now stands. Many 
men have been shot on the same ^"^round since, 
in the neck. All the territory on the east side of 
Walnut and north of the News Office to 3rd 
Street was a bi^ cornfield: the Sum])tion house 
now Farmers Hotel, was just built. Arthur Mc- 
Kew had a ^^eneral store on what is now the 
Braden Corner: Robert Starbuck had a store in 
the old pebble dashed house which still stands 
on East 1st Street. A blacksmith shop on South 
Walnut Street, and the old water {,^rist mill, 
with the old fashioned over shot wheel, that 
stood about where the Whipple mill burned a 
few years ag'o, mij^ht be considered about all 
the business Ridj^'-eville could boast of at that 
time. Our only ]>ublic hall of an}' kind was the 
old loj4" schot)l house, dimensions l'1x24, and made 
of unhewn loj^s, with the cracks chinked and 
daubed with clay: the seats were split ])uncheons 
hewn on one side with two inch pins put in for 
lej^'^s: the ceilinj^'^ was so low that a very tall man had 
to stoop to enter; George Barber would not have 
been in it. This house stood about where Benja- 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 99 

min Boswell's residence now stands, and 
answered for all meetinj^s of public nature, as 
preachinf,'-, class meeting-, sing-inj^ school, Sunday 
school, conventions, railroad meetinj^s, debates, 
shows, exhibitions and at last our mock court 
' and lej^'-islature was held there beside reg^ular 
school and many other thin}:,'-s too tedious and 
perhaps not proper to mention. 

This jj;-rand old log- school house, how dear 
to memory; what a Hood of kind recollections it 
recalls. On the beautiful summer Sundays will- 
ing- hands would carry out the benches in the 
shady g-rove, where we would sit and listen to 
the kind words and admonitions of the eloquent 
gray haired pastor, with our minds steadily fixed 
on what a magnificent day it was to catch a gog- 
gle eye or cat fish with hook and line from the 
Mississinewa. Then after the good old man pro- 
nounced the benediction, see those who lived 
near gather up those from afar and almost com- 
pel them to go home with them for dinner, where 
the table was groaning with the best the country 
afforded, and that was fit for a king. 

Oh, for the good old days, especially when 
we were one of those from afar. There are few 
of my young readers who can even imagine the 
extent to which this old time hospitality was 
carried. I have seen as many as five or six car- 
riage and wagon loads go to grandfather Ward's 
on a Sunday, making from fifteen to twenty-five or 
thirty people, besides their teams to feed ; but everj''- 
thing went in those days, and nothing unusual 
was thought of it. One family in particular I 
wish to mention whom I think w^as sadly imposed 

100 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

upon. I allude to Penel Mendenball, who lived 
then on the farm now owned and occupied by 
William Chamj), two miles west of town. Penel 
donated the land and helped to build a meeting 
bouse near his residence. This is where Penel 
made his mistake considered from a tinancial 
standpoint, but to his credit, be it stated, he 
never so considered it, and as lonj^ as he lived he 
would insist on the whole township ])artakin{^ of 
his hosi)italitj' if occasion demanded. 1 asked 
him how in the world he was able to withstand 
such a constant strain on his resources. He an- 
swered with a kindly smile: 

"Have you not read, it is better to give than 
receive? Why, I have been givin^^ ever since I 
have lived on this farm, and in all these years 
the good Lord haf? never failed to bless us with 
abundant crops; and it seems the more we give 
the more we receive, besides the g"reat pleasure 
of having the company of my neighbors and their 

Indeed Penel was not an exception. Great, 
big, whole hearted hosi)italit3' was the rule, and 
I am ha]ipy to say there are some of their descen- 
dants of these good old people living in our midst 
t(j(lay who still remember and ])ractice the old 
time Ii()S])itality. 

K\en at that remote day, Kidgeville could 
truthfully boast of having the best stores, the 
best doctors, the best mechanics, etc., of any 
town in eastern Indiana. At McKew's store you 
could get any thing from a fish hook to a steam 
engine; while doctors Shoemaker and Bailey had 
a i)ractice reaching far into adjoining" counties. 

Reminiscences of (he Miasissinewa Country 101 

It was a proverb that if Hen. Cool and Sam Gin- 
ger could not mend anything broken it might as 
well be thrown away. An example: a man from 
Wells County stopped at McKew's store one day 
with a piece of macliinery belonging to a mill 
which had been made at Piqua, Ohio. It was 
broken and he was taking it V^ack to have it re- 
paired. Arthur told the gentleman we had 
mechanics in this town that could mend anything 
broken from a cambric needle to the leg of an 
elephant. The gentleman could scarcely believe 
it, but sent for Henry and Sam to come and look 
at it; they told the man that by a simple twist of 
the wrist the work could be done. They went to 
work, and before the man could have been half 
way to Piqua his work was done, and well done 
too, and he on his return home rejoicing. They 
charged him a five dollar William each, which he 
would have readily doubled, but their conscience 
would not allow them to charge more for about 
five hours work. 


When this old hat was new my boys 

Full three score years and ten, 
There's few thats livinjj now can tell, 

How plenty things were then. Oi.u Song. 

It will be a surprise to the younj^er readers 
to learn that the writer was the orij^nuator of the 
first news])aper ever published in Kidj^eville. It 
was a honey-cooler you may bet. It was chris- 
tened the "Cow Catcher." It is astonishing to 
look backward and remember what a sensation 
that innocent little sheet created, and how read 
ily people adapt themselves to their surround 
ings. We had no ])ress, nor type of course, and 
yet that little sheet never failed to make its ap 
pearance repfularly on Saturday evening of each 
week. The stockholders, correspondents, re 
porters and devils were about as follows: Edi 
tor-in-Chief, Samuel Ginger; Managing Editor 
George Addington; Financial Head of the Firm 
Arthur McKew; Head of Keportorial Staff, Dr. W 
J. Shoemaker; Secretary, Treasurer, and Report 
er, George Wood; Foreign Corres])ondont, C 
Henry Cool, of Emmettsville; Able Reporters 
George McKew, Charles Jones, Robert Sumption 
David Ward, Monroe Starbuck and others now 
forgotten; Chief Devil, Joel Ward. The cost of 
getting out each issue was from three to five 
sheets of foolscap, two or three goose (|uills, and 
a small bottle of ink; now you ask how could the 
whole community get the benefit of only one 


Reminiscences of I he Mississinewa Country 103 

paper. Be patient a Tnoment and I'll make it so 
plain you may run as you read. First we had what 
we called an item box like a l)allot box with lock 
and key, ])laced in front of McKew's store, and 
all those having an item dropped it in the box 
durinjj^ the week previous of publication. Then 
the items were taken out and carefully scruti- 
nized by the editor find his able assistants and all 
those of a personal or s])iteful nature were con- 
si}4"ned to the fire; all those of simple, harmless, 
jokes on our neig'hbors were selected for publica- 

The foolscap was spaced off in columns some- 
thing,'" like a newspaper, and assistants handy 
with the quill, transferred them to the "Cow 
Catcher." On Saturday nig^ht of each week the 
g"ood people of the community would assemble at 
the school house and the secretary, or some g"ood 
reader would read the items one by one. Oh, 
the peals of lauj.;iiter we have heard g'O up from 
that old school house as some one was struck in 
his weakest spot. The beauty of the joke was 
that no one knew what was coming- next, or who 
would be the stricken deer, except the select few, 
and we would generally manage to hit ourselves 
pretty hard in order to keep down suspicion. So 
well and carefully was the thing" managed, that 
many of the old settlers will learn for the tirst 
time on reading these notes, who were the 
authors of the "Cow Catcher." To the credit of 
the men connected with the paper be it said, that 
the name of a lady or anything of a scurrilous or 
personal and hurtful nature was never permitted 
to enter its columns. 

104 Rernini a o gn ee s qf the Mississinewa Country 

To give the reader some idea of the style of 
the "Cow Catcher," an item something like this 
would ajjpear and be read to a crowded house: 
"As usual Alex Wood was seen on Sunday night 
or rather Monday morning, for it was 3 A. M., 
stealing his way home by a circuitous route from 
a certain house on the west side; what takes him 
there can only be surmised; but if Alex knew the 
old man was laying for him witii a shot guji, he 
would steer clear of that abode in the future." 
Alex would slip home at that early hour and as 
he got ready for bed would say to his brother 
George, "Well, I guess I h.ive beat them infernal 
fools of that dirty 'Cow Catcher' this time. " So 
he would tell George all about it, little dreaming 
he was pouring out his secret to the very head 
and front of the reportorial statT. The conse 
quence was that the next "Cow Catcher" would 
catch him harder than ever, even to the little par- 
ticulars: then Alex would wonder and swear, and 
swear and wonder, how the paper got on to his 
little racket. Few that see Alex today with his 
working clothes on would imagine that he was 
ever a dude, but such is the fact; forty years ago 
he was a splendid specimen of manhood, and 
dressed away up in "G Major," and many a maid- 
en, — well, mum's the word. The "Cow Catcher" 
served its purpose for a season and somebody 
that could not get onto the racket started an op- 
position paper called the "Bull Catcher," and as 
its tone was belligerent and we did not want to 
create any bad feeling in our little community we 
simi)ly allowed the "Cow Catcher" to quietly die. 

In the winter time we had our mock legisla- 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 105 

ture and court in the scliool liouse and the flig'hts 
of eloquence that launched tliere must still be 
lin^erin^ around somewhere for they could never 
die. Of course our members represented the dif- 
ferent counties of the state, and it was not un- 
common to hear a speech something' like this: 

"Mr. Chairman, the j^entleman from Koskius- 
CO in the course of debate has seen fit to refer to 
our personal character, and intimated that, were 
he a chicken, he would roost hij^li while we were 
in the neij,^hborhood. Mr. Chairman, I scorn to 
lliny mud back at the malicious caluminator and 
will simply observe that if he remained in the 
community any lenglh of time there would be but 
few, if any, chickens left to roost high or low; 
the price of wool would mount to the to]) of the 
market for the scarcity of sheep to produce it. " 
Or, "Mr. Chairman, the g^entleman from 
Switzerland County, ignoring; the rules of debate 
which he knows no more about than a hog' knows 
about Sunday, has said that I would steal acorns 
from a blind hog". Mr. Cluiirman, I brand the 
g'entleman from Switzerland an infamous ])re- 
varicator, and hurl the dirty epithet back in his 
teeth, by saying" that he would not only steal the 
acorns but take the hog" with them." In fact 
many enactments passed in that old school house 
would compare favorably with the statutes made 
by the bona tide legislature. One of the ques- 
tions we settled there, was that civil war was in- 
evitable and that slavery must g'o, many years be- 
fore the event happened. 

But when we wanted a real hilarious old 
time we resolved ourselves into a mock court. 

106 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

and tried all kinds of cases both civil and crimi- 
nal. I well remember one eveninj^ when I was 
just preparin^'^ to start for the court room or 
school house, when sheriff Jim Ashville served 
me with a state warrant for stealing" wood from 
Dr. Shoemaker. 1 went of course. Arthur 
McKew was the court and Dr. Shoemaker prose- 
cuted the case himself; I defended myself and en- 
tered a plea of not i:,'"uilty. I attempted to prove 
by the women of the Dr. 's household, that 1 had 
borrowed the wood durint,'^ his absence, but with 
that perversity characteristic of the sex they 
llatly refused to come to my rescue and the court 
found me guilty, and assessed the tine at a half 
bushel of bellHowers. His Honor quietly re- 
marked that he did not fine me for stealing the 
wood, but for not taking that already split for 
the stove. I got back at the Dr. by telling his 
Honor that if he knew which members of the 
Dr. 's family had the wood to split, he might 
some mercy show, but all in vain, and as there 
was no pay or stay as it is today, the code was, 
pay or go; the apples were forthcoming instanter, 
and enjoyed by present. I will give one 
case that will illustrate the many we had on the 
docket that were settled pro or con in our school 
house court. 

About that time there appeared in our midst 
a young man called Slocum; we have forgotten 
his other name. Slocum was a holy terror for 
sure; where he came from, or what he was, we 
never knew; he was the smartest man on earth. 
He had traveled several seasons with Van Am- 
burgh's menagerie, and was the man that entered 

Reminiscences of I he Mississinewa Country 107 

the (lens of llic savaj^e lions ancJ ti^'crs, and had 
subdued the fiercest of th<-m. He had herded 
sheep on tlie plains of Illinois, had tau{(ht dotes 
to drive sheep better than a man could do it, had 
crossed the AIleg"hanies many limes with lartje 
herds of cattle, had fou<,'-ht the blood thirsty 
Comanche, on the western plains anfl Sierras, 
and had taken enou<j;-h scalps with his own liand 
to make a lasso or lariat sixty feet lon^' and 
three-fourths of an inch in diameter, from the 
lon^- black hair of the Indians. He had lassoed 
millions of bulfalo with that same lariat and 
many other wonders had he performed. Some- 
one handy with tij^ures kept a record of the years 
he had been eng'a}.,''ed in the different pursuits, 
and it made him nearly eighty years of ag'e. In 
short, Slocum was a stupendous liar, and as for 
greenness the Virg"inia Laurel would hang' its 
leaves in shame by comparison. So it was re- 
solved that somethinj,'" must be done. We held a 
council, with McKew in the chair, as usual, and 
it w^as decided that we g"ive Slocum the razzle 
dazzle. Althouj^h it was not called that, at the 
time. So on the next night of court, Slocum was 
there in all his i^iory, the bigjifest duck in the 
puddle. We had the snare all set that was to 
catch the wood cock. 

During a lull in the proceeding's. His Honor 
announced in thunder tones, "Lock the door; 
there is a thief in the house." Sheriff Ashville 
immediately locked the door and placed a guard 
with orders to allow any one to enter but none to 
depart; and a search was ordered of everj'body in 
the house as a costly silk handkerchief had been 

108 Reminiscences of the JUississinewa Country 

stolen, and if the thief was caugj^ht, two years in 
tlie state prison was the very mildest punish- 
ment he mij^^ht expect. Slocum, poor devil, se- 
cure in his own innocence, was maiiinj^: himself 
very conspicuous in the search and tellinj,'^ of the 
many captures of noted horse thieves he had 
made in the wild West. As a matter of course, 
almost every one was searched before Slocum. I 
shall never forj^jet the look of triumph Slocum 
ji^ave the Sheriff as he proceeded to search him. 
nor of the look of utter, hopeless, desperate des- 
pair, when the Sheriff drew from his pocket the 
identical stolen handlcerchief, which in a scuffle 
j,''ot up for the j)urpose, someone had put the 
handkerchief in his pocket. Slocum could scarce- 
ly believe his own eyes, and for a moment could 
not speak a word. He tinally stammered, "Gen- 
tlemen I'll swear on the Holy Bible I am an inno 
cent man." "That may be so," said His Honor, 
"but it remains for you to prove it, and I have 
always noticed that a man who will steal will 
lie about it. and the law is, that an accused man 
is always considered {^''uilty until he proves him- 
self innocent. " 

His Honc^r told him he had a ri<4"ht to employ 
counsel to defend him, and I was pointed out as 
a brilliant younj,' barrister, and he asked me to 
defend him. I took him to a private corner in 
the court room and asked him the usual (juestions 
in such cases— i. e. if he had any wealth or little 
trinkets like a watch or jewelry or anythinij to 
pay an attorney for defending' him. He replied 
that he had no ready cash, but the man he was 
working" for owed him eight dollars and he 

Reminiscences of I he AIi'.Hsissinewa Country /OC/ 

would fjfive me tliat ilie very next day and as 
much more as I wanted as sf>oti as he earned it, 
if I succeeded in keepinj^^ him (Mit oi prison. 1 
told him the case was a desperate one as he was 
caug-ht Willi the stolen property in his possession 
and his only liope was to g-ive the sheriff the 
slip, and I would assist liim in this by (^ettin^^ 
the sheriff off his j^'-uard, and he must fly at the 
very first opportunity, if he had to knock the 
sheriff down to f^et out of the room. 

This advice awakened hope in the breast of 
the now almost frantic Slocum, and he resolved 
to profit by the advice. So as the trial proceeded 
and the case looked almost hopeless for Slocum, 
his Honor told the sheriff to open the door a little 
way, and let in some fresh air as the room was 
becoming- too hot. As Ashville opened the door 
Slocum began to edge that way looking as inno- 
cent as a lamb. Just at a time when the court 
wds saying something" very impressive to the 
sheriff and attorneys, that seemed to rivet the at- 
tention of every one in the house, Slocum made 
one mighty bound and throug^h the door he went, 
the sheriff gTabbed at him but took g^ood care not 
to get him, shouting- all the wliiU'. "Stop thief! 
stop thief!" the crowd broke out and joined in the 
yell, shouting-, "catch him!" "shoot him!" "kill 
him!" "don't let him escape," etc. 

The night was dark and pouring- down rain, 
and when Slocum g-ot ten feet away he was perfect- 
ly safe from pursuit even had we wished to catch 
him. The school house was surrounded by a thick 
grove of beech and sug^ar trees and a foot path 
led through the woods to a cabin that stood near 

110 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

where Albert Freeman now resides. At this cabin 
Slocum was employed, and the woman of the 
house reported that she heard Slocum slip into a 
little shed he slept in; but he only remained long^ 
enouf^'-h to f^rab up an extra shirt and a })air of 
Sunday boots; she w(mdered somewhat at his 
g^reat haste, but later on learned the cause, and 
from that fatal nij^'-ht to the present day, Slocum 
has never been seen or heard of by anyone that 
knew him here. 

At one time there was a report, but never 
verified, that Slocum was seen at a seaport on the 
north east coast of Maine tryinj^ to ^et a berth on 
a whaliu}^'- ship that was tittinpf out for a three 
years cruise in the Arctic ocean. I tried to get 
my fee from Slocum's employer but he flatly re- 
fused to pay only on an order from Slocum, and 
this it is needless to say, I could not produce. 
The joke turned on some of us and {,'^ave us a 
little uneasiness for a few hours. I had been 
home and in bed about a half hour, when I heard a 
.somewhat ominous tai)i)in}^'^ at my door. A 
j^aiilty needs no accuser. I arose, 
opened the door and there stood McKew and Riley 
Hiatt with lanterns. "What's up now?" I 
anxiously inquired. "There may be a jifreat 
deal up," replied Authur; "that confounded fool 
Slocum, in runnin;^' down the hill throuj^h that 
(lark woods, is liable to run aj.,aiinst a tree and 
knock his brains out. if he has any to knock 
out. and then we would be in a pretty fix; so we 
had better go and look for him and set our minds 
at rest one way or the other. " 

I put on my boots and coat and we started on 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 111 

the path leading- from tl)e scliool house which 
Slocum had taken in his flij^lit; we carefully fol- 
lowed the path to the house wli<i<- lie stayed and 
found no Slocum, dead or livin;:^. We returned 
home satisfied that Slocum was either safe in bed 
or on his way to some country where the pt-ople 
were half civilized, and would not send a man to 
the pen for a handkerchief he had not stolen. It 
seems incredible at this late day to believe that a 
man who had lived and breathed for twenty-one 
or two years in thisg-reat big free country could be 
"greened" in that way, but such is a fact; ay<--, 
and more; there were men in that house that night 
that believed every thing was real. 

The reader should remember that there were 
no railroads, telegraphs, colleges, or daily papers, 
in those days and our advantages for learning 
anything were confined to the old log" school 
house. And remember what Paroles says in 
"All's Well that Ends Well," "Who cannot be 
crushed by a plot?" Indeed, the wisest and best 
men of history have been downed by plots, not 
half so well laid as the one to catch Slocum. 
Even the great George Washiug-fon, but for the 
merest accident would have been totally undone 
by the plot of Arnold; and Ciesar was assassi- 
nated by the men he trusted most. 


"Can sucli thinjjs be, and not o crconie us like 
A suniiuer cloud without our special wonder." 


One-horse shows, maj,'ic lanterns, ventrilo- 
quism, etc., were always held in the school house 
and the j:an.<»" was generally on hand to investi- 
g-ale the (luality of the show. Once upon a time 
two younj^'' fellows stopped with us and adver- 
tised that they would a'we a refined and unequaled 
entertainment in the school house, consisting of 
ventriloquism, legerdemain, vocal and instrumen- 
tal music. The very appearance of the two was 
enough to convince us that they were frauds; 
they had no baggage, not even a firip. But 
the people were hungry for a show and several 
paid fifteen cents each and went in, but a much 
larger audience stayed out. Among other 
accomj)lishments in ventriloquism he was to im- 
itate, the buzzing of bees, the barking of dogs, 
squealing of pigs, etc. They had given a com- 
plimentary for a fellow to come with his fiddle, 
and when the man commenced to sing "Billy 
Barlow," the fiddler didn't know the tune and 
got started on the "Devil in the Hay Stack," and 
the audience joined in the chorus, especially the 
crowd on the outside, and literally drowned the 
fellow's voice. He got rattled and gave up the 
vocal ])art of the entertainment, and the crowd 
began to yell for ventriloquism, and many de- 
manded their money back. 

Reminiscences of the Alississinewu Country 1 1.3 

By til is time you never saw two such rattled 
showmen in your life. The fact was they could 
not do anythinj^- in the show business, and we 
learned later that tlieir i)lan was to f^o to a 
country school house, advertise a hi{^ shr)w, {^et in 
what money they could and tiien skip l>y the 
light of the moon and leave the poor country 
people the sack to hold; but they hit the wron(^ 
town when they struck Kidgeville, and they 
didn't g^et a chance to skip worth a cent. 

The audience clamored louder and louder for 
the ventriloquist. At last, poor devil, in sheer 
desperation, said he would imitate a pig squealing; 
he raised the window a little way to make the pig 
appear at a distance; in the meantime the boys 
had snatched a good sized hog out of a pen near- 
by and when the showman would try his art the 
boys would punch the hog with a sharp stick 
and the ventriloqual pig was no where. By this 
time pandemonium reigned supreme, both with- 
out and within, and the two sharp showmen 
were glad to give back the money they had 
taken at the door, and several dimes besides 
claimed by some of the crowd that had not been 
in at all, but they did not stand on ceremony 
and were perfectly satisiied to get away from that 
crowd with whole hides and ruined rejiutations. 
They lit out immediately after settling for their 
supper at the Sumption house and were seen no 
jnore forever. 

But the grandest old round u]) in the show 
business occurred some time later. One warm 
sultry day in late summer two wagons with a 
pair of the sorriest looking old j^lugs of horses 

114 Reminiscences of the Mississinen-a Country 

and a slim, sickly looking man driving one, and a 
big fat man driving the other, drove up and stop, 
ped on a vacant lot near where the Cash Grocery 
now stands. They commenced unloading a lot 
of terrible old dirty show baggage, and without 
saying a word to anybody proceeded to j)ut up a 
canvas. It was a thirty foot round top and 
looked like it had just passed through a Kansas 

Hy this time a curious crowd of onlookers 
had assembled and were watching the odd pro- 
ceeding. Aft-er the canvas was up the fat man 
went to one of the wagons and pulled out two 
nondescript being^s and led, or rather dragged 
them into the tent. It was conjectured that 
they were i)art human at least as thev 
walked upright. They had some old ragged 
blankets thrown over them and we could only 
wonder aud speculate on what they were but 
were not long kept in doubt. In a brief time two 
big flaming pictures, such as we have all seen at 
the entrance of a side show, adorned the front of 
the tent and informed the astonished beholder 
that within the sacred ]>recincts of that tent we 
might see the possum-headed man from Borneo, 
and tile snake-headed man, who was a man-eat- 
ing canniljal from the Tonqua Islands. And, al- 
so, an boa-constrictor from the jungles 
of South America. Admission, one dime. 

Not a word did the fat man nor the slim man 
utter, but when questioned alrout the show sim- 
ply pointed to the awful pictures and softly mur 
mured, "Ten cents." One ])icture rejiresented a 
half starved man with the brad of a "i)ossum. 

Rcniiiiisccnccs of Ihc Alis'il.Hsiiti'wti Country IIS 

curk'd ii|) ill llir hollow ol .-i \)\\r tr<'<-, sound 
aslee)). Aiiollicr showed ;i. slim, wiry \<nt\<\\\\r 
man, naU'cd, and hall conccali'd sqiialinfr jn tin* 
tall t^'rass of a l)i^- swatnp, while 1 he third-pif 
ture sliowed an immense serpent coiled up in tli** 
branches of a l/i;^ Iree, while the head swiin^ 
down and liad firmly mrasped in its stron^f and 
wicked-lookiiif^'' jaws, a full {^rown deer. Not- 
withstand in<i- the terrilic pictures, the tliinj^'- had 
such a suspicious h)()k the people wer<- slow to 

At last it was aj^reed that liobert Sumption 
and the writer should constitute a committee to 
g^o in and investijj^ate, and come out and re])ort. 
Robert paid his dime and weni in: now 1 harl been 
something' of a professional myself and thou^'^ht 
I would see if I could work my way in onstrenj^th 
of the profession. In those a^es show people had 
a slang' only understood by themselves, and the 
proper salute at the door was as ^ood as old j,'"old. 
and would not only pass us in. but g'ive us a re- 
served seat, and frequently an invitation into the 
dressing" room. The slang is obsolete now. So I 
approached fatty, who was Iceeping the (h»or, 
and said, 

"Sherry the Cully's Nibs." 

"What?" said fatty. 

"Sherry his Nibs from main Guy," said I. 

"Ten cents,'' said fatty, "damn it. I can't 
understand French." 

"Oh, say old man, don't you pass old pro- 
fessional showmen?" said I ratlu'r hotly. 

"Oh, you want to g^o in the show do you? 
Why in the devil didn't you say so. Certainly go 

116 Rent in licences of the Missi:iiinewa Country 

rij^'^lit in and come out wlien you are lircd look'injj 
at the f^'^reat curiosity, ami tell the })eoi>le what a 
j^reat treat they are missing by not comintf in." 

Well in I went and I hoi»e 1 may never see 
the hack uf my necU, if I did not al the tirst 
{,'lanceconclude that he had been robbin^-^ theceme 
teries and ]>nttinj^'^ the corpses on exhibition. On 
a sli^^htly raised ]>latform on two camp stools, 
sat two idiots; only this and iiothin;^- more. 
Sum|)tion slepi>ed up t«> the possinn headed man 
and said, "How de do<>. .lacky" The idiot mum 
bled somethin},'^ that sounded like "yes;" and 
with that idiotic smile so common to the non 
compos, said, "Tobacker. " Robert ^^ave him a 
chew and informed me that he was old Jack Con- 
nor, a ]>aui)er idiot that was raised up in Ward 
township and had been in the poorhouse for 
many years. His head resembled a 'possum 
about as much as an elephant, only in size. 

Rut the snake-headed man'. Shades of Bar 
num, protect usi He was simply a long-, lank, 
half-starved, ray^g^ed. loud-smellinf,'^ idiot, with an 
abnormally larj^-^e tonj^ue, with a deep suture in it. 
but not in the least forked like the tonj^^ue of a 
seri)ent, and looked about as much like the head 
of a snake as it looked like the Goddess of Lib- 
erty. He ke]>t his tonj,''ue thrust out part t)f the 
time, simply l)ecause there was more room out- 
side than in for it. On the jjfround near them lay 
a doj^wood root or rather a stump with many 
roots. The tree had been grubbed uj*, cut off 
near the g-nmnd and the bark scraped off the 
roots. It somewhat resembled a Texas Taran- 
tula. This queer-lookinj,' object, fatty informed 

Reminiscences itf l/n- Mississim-wn ('.(ittnlrv 117 

US was till' ht'atlicn caiiniWars ^^''oJ ; and on |)<*ril 
of our lives we inusl not londi it, as it made tli«* 
heathen very anj,n-y, and li.- lial>l<- U> Will all 
the Christians in sij^lit. 1 (|()nl>l<'(l this slati-rm-nt, 
and (h'tcnnincd to lest ii; so ujn-ii the slim man 
ca Med (ally 1<> the door tOr sonif purposr, 1 (juiel- 
ly and very j^eiitly set my loot on llir^,,,!, all tin* 
M'liile keepin<i" my eye on tln' man cater, ready to 
Mee at the first siyii of host i I ily 1 fiit I did not ha\'«* 
to flee; not tlie least attention |>;iid the snal<«'- 
headed man to the saerilij^ious act; l>ut sim|)ly 
f^azed into vacancy wdtli an idiotic stare. 

Emboldened by tliis calm indifference on the 
part of the cannibal, I picked u]) the f^<jd and was 
proceeding" with a lectnre on the attributes of the 
different kinds of heathen ^ous, when fatt}' sud- 
denly made his appearance in our midst. "Drop 
that j^^od," he shouted; ''drop it (juick, its a won- 
der you didn't all g'et l<illed. You are the 
first man that has ever handled that },'od and 
lived." I had a notion to hurl the heathen jjjod 
at the infernal old villain's head, but when I 
looked at the breadth of his shoulders and tlie 
glitter in his eye, I took pity on him and con- 
cluded to let him live. 

But you should have heard fatty's lecture on 
the freaks. "Now g^entlemen and ladies," said 
he, "here is the 'possum-headed man from Borneo. 
He's a strange critter indeed; he's now tamed 
down some, but it cost seven men their lives to 
capture him, he was so savage; he won't toucli 
cooked food but lives on frogs, snails, rats, and 
mice and little birds he catches in the night. At 
night he rolls himself up in his bhmkrt to .sleep 

118 Reminiscences it/ the AlississincM'a Country 

and <5oes roamiiijLT aroiinti all ni};lit " 

On IIk' snaUehfuded l)is lecture was brief: 
after ills lecture on the men, he stepped to a little 
pine box, lifted the lid offandsaid, "Here, },^entle 
men, is the K"reat boa-constrictor. He can swal- 
low a whole sheep at one meal: we only feed our 
snakes twice a year, and as it is nearly six months 
since he's been fed he's a tfood deal shrunk in size, 
(ientlemen you'd hardly believe it, but that snake 
is thirty-seven feet and nine inches lonj.: and as 
thick as a wooden bucket, when he's at himself." 
(Jentle reader, as I hope for hajipiness here- 
after, I give facts when I tell you, that the snake 
was just a common Jay county black snake, or a 
black racer as they are sometimes called, and as 
common in this part of the country as the harm- 
less little «,^irter snake. It mi;.rht have been 
three and a half feet Unn^ and was so near dead 
that it only moved its tail when punched with a 
sharp stick. Indeed a much larfjfer one of the 
same s])i'cie was killed last sumnur ri},^ht in the 
middle ot Walnut street near the post ofl&ce. 
You may rest assured the <,^ood people were not sub- 
niittin<r to this horrible liunibu;.,'- without a protest. 
As said, McKew kept everythinj,'^ in his store 
needed by the inhabitant at that day; among- 
other useful tlii]v>;s, old fashioned dinner horns, 
cow bells, etc. We had at the time a big 
drum with one head stoved in. and a dumb bell 
and horse fiddle left over from a recent chari- 
vari. In the meantime those who had been in 
had come out and reported, and by that time the 
crowd had increased a hundred or more, men. 
women and children. So armed with the drum, 

Rcniiiuscenco'^ of I he Mi.HHi'HHinc'Wd ( onnlry 110 

dumb bells, liorsc fiddle, old tin p.'itiH, dinner 
horns, cow bells .iiid everytliiii)^ possible thai 
would ludj) to make a terrific and discordant 
noise, we. commenced a march around tin- walls 
of Jericho, as we called it; marchint,'- in double and 
sinj,''le tile around the canvas, k(.'epin'4' ujt a lior 
rible din that would have drowned Hades ils«dl. 
We expected to see fatty i^et on his ear, but 
not so; he stood there calmly looK'in^^ on willi a 
most pleasant smile, as if the music hat! b<-en 
{gotten u]) especially to do him Inmor. Indeed it 
was prepared for his si)ecial benefit. The. lean 
boss canvas man k)ej^an to j^^i-t teriibly nervous, 
but fatty said somethiuL: which seemed to reas 
sure him. They went to woiU- takin<.^ down the 
canvas and in an incredible short time every- 
thing" was loaded into the wai^ons, idiots, snakes 
and all. They slowly drove west on Mam Street 
to seek new fields to conquer. As strange as it 
may seem not a word had been spoken by eitln-r 
side during" the whole racket. They had tal\»-n 
fifty or seventy-five cents at the door and had 
tarried in Kidgeville three hours. In taking .i 
kind of retrospective view of the e\ i-nt at this late 
date it seems incredibU- that any man with brains 
and the least atom of shame in his make up. 
could have the unmitigated gall to go before an 
intelligent public with such a show. I am w»dl 
aware that I may be charged with exaggerating 
in this case, but there are good people living in 
Ridgeville today that were i)resent on the occa- 
sion who will tell you that 1 have not done the 
case even justice. I may say in conclusion that 
for unblushing, execrable, outrageous, unap 

120 Reminiscences of the Mississineu-a Country 

proacliable. and damnable jrall, It out Rarnumed 
HarnuiM liimsflf. the ne plus ultra <»f lHnnbu!.'s. 

While on the subject of shovvs, I niiyht men 
tioii the time that G. G. Grady's Circus licked 
and put to tlij^'^ht the whole town; how the town 
marshal ran home and hid under the bed; how 
.liiii W. tried to take refu^^e in the house of Bar 
ney Casey; and how Mrs. Casey stood in the door 
with her sUlrls expanded the full width of the 
door and barred his entrance; how Tncle Johnny 
liarnes in telling al)out the tij^hl said that if the 
showmen had attempted to strike him with the 
stake how he intended to open his trusty old 
hawk billed trimmiii},^ knife and cut the show- 
man's ham string: and let him down in his tracks; 
nor how I). M. rame runninj^ down the alley with 
a bi{^ t;rubl>in}; hoe in his hand, swearinj^ he was 
not afraid of all the d — :1 showmen this side of * 
Hades; and how when he saw two showmen com 
in;.; meetin^i^ him, he wheeled and starl«'d north at 
a rate of sjjeed that would discoura^re a Nebras 
Ua jack rabbit. No, I will say nothinjj of this 
show as the Joke was all on us. 

Yet I cannot refrain from mentioning; one 
funny mistake that occurred at this tij,'"ht with 
the show, and the chief star, one Hilly LaKue, a 
famous rider who did a very i>opular act with the 
lar^c** ^""lobe. While rid in;.,'' at full speed he would 
toss up the f^lobe and catch it on his feet, hands, 
etc. Now it is known tt) the profession that the 
canvasmen with a circus are called Ruebens or 
Rubes and when a bi^r ti^'^ht is on you will hear 
the show sloi^an yelled in a liii^li shrill key. Ha 
Ivubcl Ha Rubel and my advice is, if you are a 

Reminiscences of ffn' MisHiHHinewa Cimntry 121 

man of |)eac(' and seated, lirst keep \(\\\r seal arwl 
don't say a word; or, if you arc outside and have 
a j^ood start, My; aud if youcau't run, lay down 
on the fjfrass and be sound asleep when th<f Kuheis 
approach you; for tiiey (h)n"t exactly Unow who 
are their enemies and if they see a suspicifiUh 
move on your part you are ]ii<ely 1o <,n-t knocked 
down with a j^'uy staK'e. 

Now the funny mistake was tiiat the jieopje 
mistook the. Jia Rube, J la Rube, ior LaKue, La 
Uue; as a farmer said to me after th'- \\\i\\\, 
"When the showmen commenced hallooinj^' for 
LaRne, LaRue, you ouj^ht to see the showmen 
come and the people go." The fun was that 
Billy LaRue was a little fellow and ccjuld not 
whip a little ten year old boy, but his name sent 
terror to the hearts of the timid and caused 
them to ilee from the wrath to come. It is not 
strange that a big show could whip a gnod 
sized town when we reflect that they are thorough 
ly organized and know exactly where and when tn 
make a charge. And more, there are only a few 
of the citizens comparatively that will take part 
in such a tight; and in those days the managers 
and proprietors hired great big bone-breakers 
who would rather tight than eat, for that s()ecial 
purpose. It is different now, and it is seldom 
that a show gets into a tight with the citizens 
of a town. 


"And iu those days there were giants. " — Biblk. 

\Vi' Iwid a charact<*r in Ividj^'cvilk' in those 
(lays almost as will known as the ex champion 
.John Ij. Sullivan. His name was James .Jones, 
but he was more familiarly known as Wabash, a 
name he acquired by havinj.r been a boatman on 
that famous water way tin* Wabash ('anal. 
Wabash was a j.fiant in stature, and a Hercules in 
stren{.rtli. He wtjuld rather ti}^ht than eat and 
rather eat than pray, and did not fear anythin}.r 
that walked on two lej.,'^s, (as he used toexjiress it), 
that came at him with natures alone. Hut he 
stood in mortal dread of a ;.,'^un or knife, and it 
was said that the very least "tiste".' doj.r could 
]>ut him to llij^'ht. Moreover Wabash when .sober 
was an affable ".gentleman, i>olite and peaceably 
inclined, and a man of no mean ability as a law 
yer; in fact he was a born orator, and with his 
commandin;.,'^ pre.sence and musical. tluMij^h some- 
what hi{,''h-keyed voice, never failed to make an 
impression on the court or jury. 

It was when Wabash indul;.:ed in tire water 
that he became a very devil and a terror to the 
whole nei}.,^hborhoo(l. One of the stran^^est thing's 
about the man was that he seemed to a 
charmed life. He was rejuirted killed beyond a 
doubt, at least three times within the recollec- 
tion of the writer, but within a few weeks, or 
months ai most, Wabash would boh np in our 

RciititiiHcences of llic MissisHini'wu Country 12-t 

midst, as fresh and smiling,'- as a daisy. At one 
lime li<^ ^ol into a terrific fif^'ht with soin<' of the 
MeeU' family, ^i'licy iisid ;i <^u\\ harrd on liis 
head, broke his Jaw, IjaLteied hi.-, hrad ail to 
Minders, and beat liim into insensibility. Yet tliey 
neither conf|uered nor kilhd him. At another 
time, they t^ot into a li.^lit in llic harvest liehl. 
Wabash went at his anta{,'"onist like a cychinc; the 
man stood on the defense with a two tim-d hay 
fork and when Wabasli ".^ot in rcaeli the man 
made a lun}.;"e with the fork to catch VVal)ash in 
the neck', but just then Wal)ash ducked his in-ad 
and the fork cau<.^ht him S(iuare in the fordu-ad 
with botli tines, and sim])ly im]iak'd him. 1 had 
it on j^'ood authority that the \\>vk was driven in 
with such terrible force that it took' the united 
strength of two of tlie harvest hands to with 
draw it. This i)attle, it was thoujj^ht, would "do" 
Wabash for sure, but in a few weel\s Wabash 
boV)l)ed u[) sniilinjL;; as ever. 

Some time later Wabash and l.saac Uetts. a 
man almost as bijj;" as himself and the most per- 
fect specimen of physical manhood that the writ- 
er ever knew, got into a rouj^h and tumble ti.irht 
in wliicli Hetts used a lialf-stock rille liun as a 
club on Waljash's head. He struck' him such ter 
rilic blows with the barrel of the i.;un that he 
actually knocked the rib loose from the barrel. 
We thou!.iht that Wabash had met his "Water- 
loo'' at last: but aj^ain we missed it. for in a few 
weeks Wabash appeared amonjf us as fresh and 
jolly as a new blown rose. 

I guess that about the nearest Wabash came 
to meeting his match in a fair tight, was wlu-n 

124 Rvntitu^icences of the Mtssisstncwa Country 

ho ran up aj^'ainst Robert Huey, at Portland. I 
believe that Mr. Hiu y is still livinjr. an honored 
and well to do farmer, near lN»rtland, Jay Co.. 
Indiana. Mr. Huey even at thi.s day is a man thai 
John L. Sullivan would hesitate to tackle. He 
stands about six feet two or three inches in 
heif^fhl, and wei<.jhs somethinj^^ over two hundred 
pounds. So when Wabash and Huey met to 
.settle the much disjjuted <|U«stion of who was 
really the best man in the county, it was Greek 
t<» (Jreek. They were both willin;^' to trj* con- 
clusions in the, at that day, popular manner a 
roU},^h and tumble tij.rht. The code dilTered very 
materially from that of to day, which does not 
])eriTiit a man to even touch his antau^onist when 
he is down; but he must wait until he is on his 
feet, and even then he is allowed a breathin;.j: spell 
if it is the i-nd of the round. He is also allowed 
full ten seconds to ;,a'l on his feet a-..,''ain; if at the 
end of the ten secoiuls he does not respond to 
the call of time he is counted «jut and the other 
man is declared the victor, and scoops in the 
shekels waj.,^ered nn the tis^rht, besides a whole 
fortune in a purse amountin.L,'^ to many thousands 
of dollars in .some canes, j^^iveii for the li;^''ht by 
the Club manat^ers. 

At the time we. sj)eaK' of ini'n met and fouu^ht 
simply for j.i'lory, and the code alU>wed them to 
stand up or lay down to tij^^ht to knock, to bite, 
to jroui,''e, to kick to pull hair, in fact anyway to 
inflict the most punishment on his antajjfonist. 
The fit,^ht continued until one or the other said 
•enoufjfh," or was beaten into insensibility so he 
could not speak the word. 

Reminiscences of tin- AlissisHinewa Country I2S 

This all must Ix- done vvilli natiire'K weapon; 
every kind of ;i wcaijoii, evtn a cane, and a foul 
li()ld were l)arre(l. 'J'lic man that disrc^card'-d 
tliese rules was eoiisidcrcd a i-()ward. an<l no 
other man was in honor hound to fi^^'ht liitn fair. 
The h^ht between Wahash and ilni-y was gov- 
erned by the code of that (hiy, and I have bei-n 
tohl by those who witnessed it that it was the 
most desperate f1j,''ht that ever occurred in th<' 
state. The men weic so e(|nally matched that 
neither could ]\eep tile ad \anta<.,'"e for an}' lenj^'lli 
of time; both were terribly pnnisiied. I have been 
told different stories about which was the victor: 
the friends of each claiminjj;^ the tij^^iit for his fav- 
orite. The men were both so true blue that 
neither would say "enough," and 1 presume the 
hj^^ht was considered a draw. Wabash bitolT one 
of the tin}.ifers of Mr. liuey and received punish 
nunit in return that laid him up forTimny days. 

One other incident in the career of this ath 
letic and eccentric man well worth ri'latin.u'. (>nr 
of the chief virtues possessed by wa.s 
that he was an American from the crown of his 
head to the soles of his fei't, and nothing: put him 
in a towering' passion (piicker than to hear the 
least slur cast upon the memory of the soldiers of 
the devolution. Now it so fell out. that livin;jf 
near here at that time was an Eniilishman named 
H. B , who especially when fixed uji with li(pu)r 
would remind his hearers that he had at one time 
been a proud subject of Ivinj^ (iei)r_!^e, and his 
alle}.;iance to that celebrated monarch was not 
entirely obliterated, althouiih he was a bona tiilo. 
American. This kind of loyalty to I'ncle Sam 

/26 Reminiscences of the MissiAsincwa Country 

did not suit Wabash a little bit, and he expressed 
himself in the h«'arin;^<)f the Briton, and of course 
H. H. ilid not relish such reflections on his loyalty: 
therefore there was blood on our beautiful satel- 
lite, Luna 

It so happeneil that a contractor on the Cin- 
cinnati & Ft. Wayne railroad had failed, and all 
his horses, mules, wa^fons. carts, plow, etc., were 
.sold at public auction in Kidj.:eville. As mi;,^ht 
be expected this sale brouf^ht the jjeople from 
far and near. amont,'^the rest were tlie Kn^jlishman, 
11. H. and Wabash. It was seen by who 
knew Wabash intimately that he was on the war 
path, and just waitinjj" for any kind of excuse to 
sail into the former subject of Johnny Bull and 
do him up in true American style. The opportun- 
ity t,^ot there in ^'•ood time, as it }.,^enerally does. 
H. B. was hlowin*,^ about how the Knt^^lish j^'^ot 
away with the Yankees ;it some of the enj^'^aj^e- 
ments of the Revolution, and some thoujfht his 
talk was intended especially for the ear of Wa- 
bash. Be that as it may. a sentence like this 
reached the ear of that j^entleman at least. "Oh, 
do you for}jfet how the red coats made the Yankee 
rebels tuck their tails and run like the devil was 
after them at Bunker HillV" 

Better, far better, had it been for that for- 
mer subject of (Jeor;,'^e that his tonjiue had been 
blistered all over ere he uttered tl»at little joke. 
Wabash cau^rht the Briton's .sentence in his ear, 
and the Briton can>^Hit Wabash's riirht on the jaw. 
One blow was alto>.rether sufficient. A j,^entle- 
man that stood by, said that Wabash took a run 
and jump and caui^'^ht the Knj,Mishman .square on 

Hcmi'niNccnccs o/ /ln' MiusiHHinowa Country 1 27 

the jaw and Unoclfcd him fully six f*-<*t clear <»f 
the ^Tound Ix-forc Ik- Idl; Ik- lay IImtc-- quivfTinj^ 
a nionu'iit and tlnn liy pcrlcctly still. Kvery 
one ))rc'sent lliouj^lil Ik- was dead as a clam. 
l^^vcMi Wal)asli liiinscll liinicd |»al<- when In- looked 
on his haiidi vvorU'. Il<' started on a dead run for 
Ur. Shoemaker, who fortunattdy was at homr 
and in a f(^vv ininuU's was kneelin"^ \>y the 
side of the now very quiet Kiij^'lishrnan. 
By the use of such restoratives as the Dr. ktiew 
how to administer tlie man was hrcm^^ht around 
in the course of a half hour, and sotjn removed to 
his home. He lived for some years, but one of 
his neig'hbors informed me that he never entirely 
recovered from that awful l)low and that it was 
eventually the means of his takinj^ olf. 

Wabash died in Wisconsin a year or more 
ago, a respected, honored and sober citizen, hav- 
ing" been elected Justice of Peace which ottice he 
filled with honor and ability; all in all, Wabash 
was a man whose like we shall not see in a day's 
journey. Requiescat in pace, Jim. 

. "Tlic ft^hi was a straij(>ht out complete fake. " 

Shokting Papek 

A lonj^^ time aj^'oa man named Smilhlon start 
ed a little j^'rocery in tlu' hiiildinu", then a new 
one, at the puhlic |)umi». Now Smithton was 
new in th«' j^^rocery business and knew hea|) more 
about «,>^rubbin«r stumps than sellinf^' chewinj^^^um. 
His family consistj'd of a wife and thret* or four 
children, amou},'^ tluin a boy named Jim, about 
ten years of aj^^e. When the family f>^ot fairly 
started in the {j^rocery the}' seemed to imaj^^ine 
that they were the ori|jfinal and only "four hun- 
dred;" especially the boy Jim made himself very 
conspicuous and seemed to thinU that he and the 
rest of the family owned the earth and all things 
therein. This claim, the rest of the community 
were inclined to contest. 

Smithton's f.,'^r()cery became a favorite resort 
on the lon<.i" winter niji^hts when the honest toilers 
of Rid},an'ille would tliere assemble and 
the leading questions of the day. and set up jobs 
on Smithton. Among the habitues of the Smith 
ton ranch at that day were such quiet, innocent 
and guileless men, as Jim Ashville, Riley Hiatt, 
Arthur McKew, Charley Jones, Jim Phili])s, (Juy 
Taylor, CJeorge McKew. Joel Ward, Sam (iinger, 
Hen Cool and many others whom I cannot recall 
at this late dale. The real fun l»egan about as* 
follows: Smithton li;ul rcceivrd in a late invoice 

Rcniiniscfnccs uf l/ic AJisHi'MHincwu (lounlry 1 20 

of j^rocciics about a hall jar riijj of liltk- caiuJy 
wafers or Iroclics, of (liniicnt folorn ;ik n-d, 
wliitr, l)lii(', ell-. 'IMh'v .Iff .■il)oiit as \;\v\H' ana 
nicktl and tvviic as lliick-. and as common iti tin- 
j^roccrics lo.lay as sticU- taii(l\: Itiit al that tiiin- 
they were a iio\'clly, and Sinitht<»n an«l his lioy 
never find of cxiijainini^ tin- heauty .iixl merits 
of this wondcrrni, Wiw and nM((|nalle<| fainly. 
Of course when hi' wonid hand down t lie jar f«tr 
ins])eclioii eac li man would |ticl< out a wafer and 
sam[)le it. Sniillifon soon discovere*! that this 
plan was ruinous, and his sn|t|)ly of wafers would 
soon be ous ga spiel. 

At this period sonu' one, .lini Ashvi'lle or .lim 
Phi]i})s, I am jnetty sure, started the siM)sati<»iial 
report that tlie wafers were uothiny more or hss 
than do<^' buttons, apocynt/rn, l>rei)ared and s(d<l ex 
pressly toi)oison doj^s, ami moreover many peoj»le 
had been made deathly sick by eatiufi" them. It 
was no trouble' at all to brin^^ up a dozen (»f the 
j^'ang" that would testify tiiat tlu-y had been made 
desperately sick by eatinjif of the candy. We 
worked this racket until we {^r^t Smithton so ter- 
ribly frightened, that he absolutely went and emp- 
tied the rest of the candy wafers into the alley, and 
for a day or two the small boys that were on to 
the racket were well su|)])lied with candy. 

But the cii.sis in this ludicrous comedy came 
one memorable night, when we ti.xed uj> a >ham 
prize tight on Smiihton. It was during the heat 
ed campaign of Premwnt and Huchanan, antl 
politics were red hot. and a tight was of freipienl 
occurrence. So on the night of the tragedy, the 
gang all i)reseut and in their respective roles. 

130 Rwitiniaoences of the Miaaissincwa Cminlry 

Riley Hiatt, and myself jjot into a heated ])oliti- 
oal discussion; allliou^li both of one political 
faith, there was one jxiint on which we dilTered 
very materially: as the arj^ument uot hotter and 
hotter and blows were threatened, our friends in- 
terfered and for the moment prevented a li;,Hit. 
Even Smithton himself came from l)ehind the 
counter and appealinj^'^ to <»ur manhood and for- 
mer friendship implored us to drop the matter 
and be friends ay:ain, but in case we must ti^fht 
for heaven's sake to }^o out in the street and not 
have such a disgraceful occurrence in his (piiet 
and respectable place — where if we ^^ot into a 
rou;^-"!] and tumble tij^ht we were liable to do him 
immense damaj^^e by breakinj,'^ up and destroyinj,^ 
his crockery, china, ^lass. and wooden ware, of 
which li>e had just received a brand new and ex- 
tensive invoice, of all kinds. 

Two or three tallow candles furnished the 
lij^ht for the store; the coal oil lamjt havin<^ not 
yet been discoved. The boy, Jim Smithton, sat 
on the counter banf^in^'' his heels a<i^ainst it and 
tryinj,' to drown the quarrel. Guy Taylor stood 
near him ready to upset him f.rom the counter, 
and to douse the ^lim at the proi)er time; while 
some other member of the fraternity stood near 
each li^ht ready for business, while Smithton 
himself stood behind the counter imi)lorin}.; us in 
the most frenzied lanjjfuaj^e to not tijj^ht in his 
house, but'all in vain. The aryfument had waxed 
warm a}.,'^ain and st)on the lie was passed and 
Riley and 1 went at each other like mad locomo- 
tives. At that moment the lights went out. .lim 
Smithton went off the counter backward, yelling 

Rcmini.Hcenct'M of Ihr MisHinHtnt-wu Country 131 

murder! inurdorl Siiiitlilon flew out the back 
way imploring his laiiiily to lly for tln'ir livrK or 
they wouhl .ill Ix- iiiiircU'red. I''or a frw minutes 
pandemonium rcij^ncd supreme in the store. 
Wooden I)ikM<c1s, Ii.isKcIs, inhs. ctr., were Jlyinjf 
through the air lliiclvir llian razors at a nitjj^er 
(cotilioii) party. While ii)iir(ii-r, liar, villain, rob 
her, was shouted within and uitli<ait. 

When tlie sni()l<e of hattie had cleare<l away 
and tlie field was seaiched for dead and wounded 
Jim Smitiiton was discovered about the middle 
.of the back lot in an attitude of frantic despair, 
shouting murder, murder at I he top of his voice. 
It took some time to reassure him and convince 
liitu that nobody was really murdered outri^'ht. 
Smithton himself was found up in the ha}' mow 
praying", with his face turned eastward, while 
the other members of the family had taken ref- 
uge with some of the near neighbors. 

When order was finally restored, it was 
found that the damag"e was very slight, consider- 
ing the amount of racket made during the riot 
and consisted of a smashed crock or two, a 
broken wooden bucket, and some other trilling 
damage, which damage I am proud to say was 
promptly paid, three to one the next morning, 
and that, too, without a demand from Smithton. 
As it was considered we had not had (|uite 
enough fun out of the business. Smithton was 
told that if the story got before the grand jury 
it would break him u]i root and branch besides 
roasting the rest of us to a large extent, ami it 
was suggested that he see l\iley and me ami bribe 
us to say the fight was all in fun. which idea 

LI 2 Rvminiscences of the Missiasinewa Country 

he immediatelj' carried out. Tlirouyh the inter- 
vention of mutual friends Uiley «ind I were 
brouf^^hl tof^^ether, and we shook hands over the 
bh)ody chasm, buried the tomahawk, and aj^reed 
to leave it buried until the next political cam- 
pa ii^n at least. 

Smith ton a«,''reed to treat the whole crowd 
l)resent that nij^'^ht to candy and cij^ars, which 
stipulation was carried out to the letter, and to 
this day Uiley and I have never had a knock- 
down. It is needless to add that S'nithton was 
driven out of the mercantile entirely, 
and returned to the plow and plane where he 
made a {j^ood and peaceable livin-^. 

Now I hear some of my },a*ntlcmen readers 
say, "Why those fellows were nothinj^f but a ruf- 
fian mob, and I'll be d— d if they could ])lay it on 
me in that style." Now my gentle friend allow 
me to answer that a heap smarter men than j'ou 
or I or Smithton have been crushed by a plot, 
and to tlie charj^'e of ruffian ism, jjermit me to ex- 
plain,— not in defense of myself, but of some that 
are not here to defend themselves, — that while 
Arthur McKew, Guy Taylor, and others of that 
jolly crowd were men that would {^""o to Jericho 
for fun, they did not wish to have it at the ex- 
pense financially of others, and for every dollar 
we damaged iSmithton in any way we returned to 
him twice or thrice the amount, and for his quit- 
ting the business it was seen by those exper- 
ienced in such business that in less than a year 
he would not have a dollar left if he continued in 
the grocery business, for he could neither buy nor 
sell at a profit. So I leave it. 

Rerniniscenrrs nj l/u- MiHuiHuim-wa Citunlry J.I.I 

It may be a consol.ilion lo ( critic to learn. 
that once upon a tiiiK- our littli- fnii acted aH a 
boomcM'an^'-; w<' had ciiiicd our innocent fun to 
sucli a ])itch that lh<' j^raiid jiu-y laid for us. I 
will not ndatc the case .w, I iiavc fortjottfii lh<- 
main ])oiiils, but simply say uc took a man 
around the ca])es, and tlic ^^raixJ jury t^ol uh. 
Tom. Brown was I'roscoulor at thf liim', and we 
sent a representative to see what could br doni-. 
He returned with the i^lad tidinj^s (not so very ^,'la(l 
either) that we should each c-onie over and wliack 
up a five dollar William, and forever aflt-r hold 
out" peace, which we did ioi- some lime, when a 
case develoi>ed that demanded our immediate at- 
tention and which case I will relate as a pleasin}^ 
Jinale to the Reminiscences. 


"You that have tears prepare to shed them now." 

— M. Antony 

Livinj^ at the time we write, about a mile 
north of town on tlio Camden road, was un 
questionably the meanest man on this planet we 
call the earth. His name was Wellstocif, and 
for unadulterated. incom])arable meanness, he 
took the belt and kept it without a rival. Amon^f 
all his acquaintances there was not even one 
man he could call a friend; in fact he was every- 
thin«^ that was mean and not anythinir tliat was 
g"ood. His family at that time consisted of a 
wife a most estimable lady, and four or five 
children ran<(inji' in agfes from the infant in the 
arms of its mother to boys eijj^ht to ten years 
old. AmonsT his other little harmless edicts and 
habits I mig'ht enumerate that he was so sting-y 
when he went to work in the fields he would take 
the loaf of bread and make a mark around it 
with his knife to see that no slice was cut off in 
his absence. Not a bite of butter or an egg did 
he allow his family to eat; coffee and store tea 
were strictly forbidden in the family, and when 
his hard-worked and half-starved wife wanted 
a cup of coffee she had to smuj.jfii^le a half dozen 
eggs to the store, exchanj^^e them for her favor- 
ite beveraj^e, take the coffee home, parch it and 
pound it with an iron wedjji^e. and brew a cup of 
the refresh inf.,"" drink for herself and little ones 
which of course was drauK- without suifar. All 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 135 

this -had to be done witliout the knowledge of 
the stingy old scoundrel, Wellstock. 

It is on the best of authority, that when his 
infant cliild died, in place of j^''oinf,r to the under- 
taker and j^ettinj^ a decent coffin he nailed up a 
roug"h box out of clapboards and placed the little 
body in it, carried it out to the barn and left it 
until he could conveniently bury it. His sting"i- 
ness went so far as to limit his wife to so many 
widths of calico in her dress, and the poor woman 
was dressed in such unfashionable and abreviated 
skirts that she was ashamed to be seen in company. 
In this unseemly garb the old hypocrit Wellstock 
would compel her to accompany him to church on 
Sunday, the day of all others when every one, es- 
pecially the ladies, dressed in their Sunday best. 

In order to illustrate the abject fear in which 
his poor old wife stood from the old brute, I will 
have to dis^Tess to some extent, and relate a cir- 
cumstance that at first assumed the form of a 
serious trajjedy, but wound up with the most 
ridiculous comedy, and one in which the writer 
mig-ht have g^ot into serious hot water by simply 
being' poor Tray in bad company. At that da^-^ 
we had no railroads, stage coaches nor other con- 
veyances, and the two-horse wag"on or walking" 
was the general way of g"oing-. The Bellefontaine 
railroad was just finished to Winchester, and all 
the goods for Camden and points north of w^ere 
hauled from Winchester in two and four-horse 
wag^ons right past Wellstock 's ranch. 

I should have stated that Wellstock had 
planted a few rows of Catawba and Isabel grapes, 
the only kind we had at that day, and dignified 

J36 Rarniniscences of the Mississincwa Country 

it by the name of vineyard; and was soon en«ja{^^ed 
in the manufacture and sale of wine. It made no 
difference that these two kinds of scrapes scarcely 
ever ripened in this latitude; the wine was made 
all the same. I heard one of his customers remark 
that he used one frost-bitten j^^rape to each jfallon 
of wine. Hut he did r.iise a bi;.^ patch of rliubarb 
or ])ie plant, and made many barrt-ls ol cider from 
the al)inidance of apples that never failed in this 
country at that time. A.s a matter of fact his 
wine consisted of forty i)er cent, rhubarb juice, 
forty jier cent, cider and twenty j)er cent, alcohol. 
So that a man who could stow away from a (juart 
to a f^allon of this stuff could {,'^et prt-tty comfort- 
ably drunk; and Wellstock throve exceed inj^'^ly. 

Now I had been on a visit to my friends at 
Camden, and had started to walk home; when 
scarcely out of town I was overtaken by a livrht- 
nin;.,'^ rod peddler, who. havinj.,'^ sold out his load 
was returniu},'" to Winchester for a fresh supply of 
rods. Ilavintr a j,''ood team and no load, he asked 
me to ride with him, which invitation I, of course, 
accepted. When within a few miles of home we 
were overtaken by Joe Maddov. also in a two- wa^ron on his way t() Winchester for |.roods. 
He b('in<,^ an old ac<|uaintance drove alonj.^ behind 
us chatting al)()ut the weather, crops, etc . until 
we came in sij.(^ht of Wellstock 's when he asked 
me if Wellstock still kept wine for sale. I rei)lied 
in the affirmative, when Joe said he was intimate 
ly acquainted with Wellstock and all his peo])le, 
havinf,'^ come from the same i)lace in Ohio, and 
knew all about the rumor of the mysterious dis- 
appearance of Wellstock's tirst wife. 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country I -il 

Wlien we readied <lic raiicli lie and his wife 
were siltinf^ in the sliadc ol 1h<- house watching" 
for a customer; we reined up, '^(A (jut anfl climbed 
the bars, and .Joe stepped up to Wellstock salut- 
inf^ him very cordially, asking' about tiie quality 
of his wine and his family, f noticed Wellstock 
didn't seem the least l)it L'lad to see Joe, wjiich 
seemed to make Joe all the more familiar and in- 
(luisitive. The ])ed(ller and 1 spaU'e not a word. 
Finally Joe said, "Well Johnny, was ever an\ - 
thin,i>- heard from that last wife of yours?" This 
was the spark that let g-o the dynamite. ''Get 
off my premises every one of you, and that quick, 
too!" said Johnny. The ])eddler and 1 started for 
the road in double (|uick time, for Wellstock had 
ji^rabbed up the ax from the wood j^ile and was 
comin<j;- for us like a mad bull. I'ut Joe didn't 
seem to realize the danj^er like the i)eddler and 
I, and was slowly retreating- with his face to the 

Wellstock was following- him with, the ax 
raised ready to chop Joe in two; Joe was declar- 
ing he meant no offense, no, not the least in the 
world, but all the while keeping his weather eye 
on the penumbra surrounding Johnny's red head. 
Johnny hesitated; -w-ho hesitates with Joe is lost. 
Quick as a Hash Joe made a spring and the next 
moment his right hand clutched the ax handle, 
while his left clutched .lohnny's throtlle. It 
was but the work of a moment for Joe to "et 
the ax away, throw it a rod or more, and have 
Johnny standing- on his head, while he held him 
by the ankles and administered some saw log 
kicks, that sounded like pounding on a l.ollow 

138 Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 

tree with a seasoned club to scare a squirrel out 
for a ritle sliot. The pechller jumped in Ins \va{^- 
on and started Itnvard Winchester at a Maud S. 
jfail. The woman and children yelled murder, 
help, take him off, and everythinj^ else they 
could think of. I told Joe to (juit. that he mi},'ht 
hurl the man more lh:iu he inteuded. He only 
answered by tellinj^^ me to j^o away and mind my 
own business t)r he would knock me into the mid- 
dle of Jay County. In fact I can't truthfully 
state that I was sheddinji many tears of real i)ity 
over Johnny's predicament; and moreover for a 
man that had liouyfht as much rhubard juice from 
him as I had, I felt tiiat he mij^dit alTord me .some 
little amusement as a kind of rebate as it 
were. But thin«.rs be}.,'^an to look so serious, that I 
l)icked up the ax and told Joe if he did not let up 
on Wellstock I would be compelled to chop him 
to some extent. 

Now I don't for a moment IhinU" that the 
threat had the least thin;^ to do with il, but jirob- 
ably from pure exhaustion, Joe let .Johnny jfo, 
with the consoling,'' injunction that if he ever 
tried to chop him aj.^'^ain. he would put on bis 
steel toed boots and kick him clear across the 
Mason and Dixon line. Altlnrnj^h his wife made 
a ^^reat outcry and wrnnj^^ her hands, 1 could not 
helj) but think that away down deep in her heart 
she would have been well pleased to have seen 
the toe of .loe's boot protrudiiif.:: throujifh old 
Johnny's diaphraj^^m. Well Johnny hobbled oflf 
to the house declarinj.;^ that if there was any law 
in the land, some people would learn the fact 
and that speedily. We g^ot in the wagon and 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewa Country 139 

drove on to town. I told Joe that as he returned 
to Camden lie had Vn'ttcr drivtt around by the 
way of (Jhica<^'"(), as Wcllslock would be sure to 
have a constable j^iiardin^ every road in 
the township. Joe said he wouhl return by 
the way of Kidj^evilie and if hf- was lined, which 
he much doubted, lie had the wherewithal to |)ay 
it, and lau^liin^^ly observed that lie had not hurt 
Wellstock in the least, as he knew all llic time 
wliat he was doin}^, and simply kicked him with 
the side of his boot and took j^^ood care on wliat 
part of Johnny's anatomy to land. 

Sure enuujjfh, Wellstock came to town, went 
before 'Squire Robert Jewell tiled his affidavit, 
and a warrant was placed in the hands of the con- 
stable, command ins,'' him to arrest one Joe Maddox. 
Sure enouyli next day, Joe drove up to the Sump- 
tion house, ordered his dinner and team fed, and 
just then the constable ])ut the tixin<^"s on him and 
they repaired to 'S(iuire Jewell's office; Wellstock 
and his wife were on hand. 1 may here remark 
that Joe Maddox was one of the slickest criminal 
lawyers in the state, in a Justice's court. 
'Squire Jewell %vas a youn<;- man and if I mistake 
not this vvas his lirst case. Joe was arraijjned 
for assult and battery and plead not <juilty. 

Wellstock ^ave his testimony about as re- 
lated above, except that the three men came 
there very drunk and he refused them wine, and 
Maddox picked up the ax and swore that if he 
didn't g'ive us wine, he would chop him into 
mince meat. But imagine my lu>ly horror, and 
total collapse, when I heard that poor terrified 
woman, who had been thoroughl}' instructed, go 

140 Reminiscenoes of the Mississinewa Country 

on the stand and testify as follows: "We were 
sittinp there at home, and three men drove up 
and u^ot out and asked for wine. They were 
Mr. Maddox, Mr. Gini^er and one I didn't know; 
they were all drunk and wanted to tiy:ht. and 
.lolinny wouldn't let them have an}' wine, atid 
.Maddox said if he didn't he'd lick him and start 
ed at Johnny; Johnny ran to the wood pile and 
l)icked up the ax, but before he could strike, 
Maddox knocked him down, and jumped on him 
with both feet, and stamped and beat him till he 
was tired. The man I didn't know ran away as 
fast as he -could. Once when .lohnny was about 
to jjet up, and ^-^et the better of Maddox. Mr. 
Ginj»"er picked up the ax, and uj) to where 
they were ti}.,Mitin;.,'' and told Johnny if he didn't 
lay still and let Maddox kick him till he w^s 
satisfied, he would chop his head oil"; and John- 
ny Just had to lay still and take it." 

While testifyinj;' she ueviT raised her eyes 
from the Moor for a moimnt, and spoke so low 
that time and aj^T'ii'i the court had to insist on 
her speakiu}^ louder. The moment her evidence 
was in she left the court room ^Imost in a run, 
never for once raising; her eyes to the court or 
bystanders; every one present, the court includ- 
ed, knew that she had been forced to g^ive her 
evidence just as Wellstock lixed it up for her, 
and cussed him accord in<,fly. 

Joe otTered no evidence whatever, but his 
plea to the court was a hummer from hummer- 
bur;,'^. "Why, your honor" said Joe, "don't you 
know that this court has no jurisdiction in this 
case? Let me read you the law in the case: 

Reminiscences of the Miasiaainewa Country 141 

Suits shall be brouj4"lit in llic townsliip where 
the defendant resides. "Don't yonr honor well 
know that I am a resident of I'enn townshi)), Jay 
county, while Wellslock is a resident of Frank- 
lin township, liandolpli county? Besides your 
honor, tliis affidavit isn't worth a straw; it 
char^'-es assidt and battery. Now let me read the 
law on assault and battery; this is what it says: 
Whoever in a rnde, insolent and an^ry manner, 
strikes, heats and touches another, upon convic- 
tion, etc., sliall be, etc., lined in any sum, etc. 
Now, your honor, was there any evidence show- 
in <.i" tliat I struck and beat the defendant? 'Tis 
truL" the evidence shows I kicked him, l)ut the 
cold cut law says, strikes and beats and wounds 
another, etc., and your honor well knows tiiat 
every material alleviation must be [)roved beyond 
the possibility of doubt." It is needless to say 
his honor acquitted ,loe, with a sli^^ht ai)olo^y for 
the inconvenience to wliicli he had been subject, 
while he roasted Wellstock for coming into court 
with such a llinisy case. Tiiis l)rini;s us l)acl\ to 
tlie time of tlie catastrophe. 

All these 'i\w(X luany more and meaner thinys 
was Wellstock j^nilty of, but space and forbearance 
forbids their recordinj^-. But know ye, that all 
this time the mills of the CJods were laying for 
Wellstock, .and when they did be.^in to g'rind, they 
ground exceedingly tine. The crowning infamy, 
and the one act that brought about Well stock's 
Waterloo and everlasting undoing, resulted thusl}'. 

It was the custom at that day and to some ex- 
tent yet, in the rural districts of Indiana, to ex- 
change the cattle of the neighborhood, on the 

142 Reminiscencca of the Mississinewa Country 

theory, n>< I liave been told, tliat clianj^e of j)as- 
ture makes fat cattle. The work of drivinjf the 
cattle from one farm to another it is needless to 
add was always performed bj' paterfamilias him- 
self or the bijf boys. But Wellstock concluded to 
j,'"et up an inovation on this custom; he called his 
better half, and said. "Now Mrs. Wellstock, if 
you to be a helpmate in deed as well as in 
name proceed at once to drive the kine down to 
Karnur Wilson's." As a matter of course the 
woman declined. Wellstock insisted. She told 
him it was not the work for women to do. He 
still insisted, and the hypocritical old villain even 
quoted scripture to fortify his j)osition. sayin*; to 
her have ye not read, "Wives obey your husband, 
and be subject unto them in all tliinj^^.s," Mrs. Well- 
stock still was not convinced: the old man then 
prodiiced the last and most unanswerable arjj^u 
ment, which was a lar;.,^e black snake wai^^ju whip 
tellin*,^ her to choose between the two; either to 
drive or be driven. 

The poor defen.seless and crushed woman hav- 
injj no friend or refu^'^e to fly to was compelled to 
submit to the de<.jra(lin<»' command of the old 
devil, rather than the more dej^^radinj^f one of be- 
ing waffon whipped. When she told this humil- 
iating' story to the family of Mr. Wilson, they 
were justly very indit,mant. and came to town 
and reported the outraj^^e, askinjjf if there was no 
law to punish the old lirute. We had no Jimmy 
Hlaine Hiller at day to interpret the stat- 
utes and to read the riot act to Wellstock. So in 
that emerj^jency the regulators were convened 
and a hasty and red hot meeting held We met at 

Reminiscences of I /u- Mississinewa Country 143 

A. McK.ew's store abcjul the hour of closiiij^' (jii a 
warm sultry iiij^'^lit in Aujji'ust. It was unani- 
mously resolved tliai something' had U) be done 
ri<,''lit away, too. 

After several plans Jiad been a(lo])ted and 
then as speedily dropped as impractical, McKew 
said in substance like this, (as Win. Jinl\s ])nts 
it,) ''lioys, I was always opposed to anything" 
like mob law, but tliere sets a tub full of eg'g^s, 
and tliere sets baskets of all sizes, and if you 
boys sees lit to <jco ont in the woods and have an 
eg"g roast it is no body's business but your own." 
With this closing" sentence he went around to his 
desk, opened his ledger and in a moment was en- 
g'ag'ed in balancing" accounts; our plans were ma- 
tured in a very brief time, and eig^ht of ijs, if [ 
remember correctly were soon on the road to the 
domicile of Wellstock each loaded with a peck 
basket of hen and duck eg"g^s with an occasional 
goose eg"g" for g"ood measure. 

Now that the reader may fully understand 
the occurrences of the next hour, I will briefly 
describe the residence of this meanest man on 
earth. As stated above it was about one mile 
north on the Camden Road; the house, a very 
plain one-story cottag^e, weather-boarded up and 
down, stood back from the road about seventy or 
eighty feet; a common rail fence was the line 
next the road, with a pair of old fashioned post 
and rail bars just in front of the house. Now it 
was planned that two of the boj's least known 
by Wellstock and well disg'uised with bundles 
and walking^ sticks in hand, should call him out 
and inquire the way to Winchester, while the 

144 Rftniniaeeneea of the Miasissinewa Country 

rest of US crouched down on either side of the 
bars with our hands full of ••j^ij^ •'^"'^ the basket 
settin}^ handy. 

One of the decoys was a youn^^ medical stu- 
dent whom Wt'llstock did not know* from an 
Ks(|uimo, and for amateurs those two boys did 
their work more than well. The student did the 
talkin«r from the fact that Wellstock knew the 
voice of the other decoy as well as he knew his 
own they called him to the door with the usual. 
''Hello.'' When he appeared at tin* door the 
student asked in the lanj^'-uajre of a (Jerman 
speakinj,^ very bad Eni,^lish, "Mislitar, vitch is 
der vay for dat VinchastarV" Wellstock told 
them to ^o rif^^ht on straij^^ht south till they came 
to a river, cross on a lojf, etc. . They commenced 
a (lialo}.,^ue impossible to repeat, suffice to say the 
boys i)retended to not understand the old man 
and took care he should not understand them, 
IJrielly, so well they did their i)art, they succeed- 
ed in throwin^'^ the old sucker entirely off his 
K'uard, and he came marchinf,'' down to the bars 
dressed en dishabille as the French say, but in 
^ood sfjuare En}.,dish became to hisdoom in hisshirt 
tail, and an abbreviated shirt tail at that, with 
out any drawers on. He was so contem])tably 
stinj^'^y he would not jiermit an inch more of muslin 
in his shirt than was absolutely necessary to 
comply with the law. He walked ri!.,^ht u]) to the 
bars like a lamb to llu' slau^^hter. .lust as he laid 
his hands on the bars the boy.s drew back and 
let him have it ripht in the b— or abdomen I 
should say. This was the si}.jnal for the rest of 
us to sail in, which we did in i^ood style. I 

Reminiscences of the Mississinewu Cnitnlry /'/-S 

sliall iKna-r for/^et the expression of Supreme 
horror on Wellstocl<'s eouiiteiiance l)y moon 
lif,'-ht, as he saw tin- trap Ix- was cau<,^lit in. I 
can't V)ut tliink that in lliat onr supreme mo 
ment all his past sins, and they were Ic-^-ions, 
were crowded together. 

At lirst lie seemed totally paraly/ed and 
could not Uy, and stand he could not, for the 
eg'g's were hitting' him at the rate of eij^ht or ten 
per second. He yelled help, murder, robbers, and 
everything else he could think- of in his awful 
dilemma. I well remember tliat just as he 
wheeled to run I roasted him with a big^ duck ej^g 
catching'' him just above the finis of his abbre- 
viated shirt tail on the starboard side of his 
anatomy. As the old sinner Hew for the house 
the eg"g"s were hittinjj;' him like balls from a 
g-atling- gun. I had stated to the boys as we 
went along- that Wellstock kept a small calibre 
rifle gun always loaded hanging over the door, 
a gun I had made for him myself, being a gun- 
maker at that time, and there was a possibility 
that some of us might get hurt. "No danger of 
getting hurt," said T. A., "for he'll be so badly 
scared he couldn't hit a barn." 

So when Wellstock reached the house, we 
flew north away from home to convey the idea 
that we lived in that direction and not in Ridge- 
ville. This little ruse worked like a charm, for 
later we learned that he had several boys living 
north arrested and it cost them considerable to 
get out of it; of course they could not be convict- 
ed, being entirel}' innocent, but notwithstanding 
this it cost them something in time and lawyer's 

146 Reminiacencea of the Mississincwa Country 

fees. Sure enoiij.:li when we had jfotlen entirely 
out of ranj^'^e, the old man thouf^ht of the ^un and 
on me to the door and tired, hut we n«'ver heard of 
the bullet. 

We returned to town hy a eircuitou.s route 
and next day Wellstock received a letter throui^h 
tile Post Office tellint,' him of the cause of the ter- 
ril>le down-setlinj^: he {.fot that nij^ht. and warn 
iii"^ him that if he indiilj^ed in any more suoh 
freaks, he would certainly be hanj^ed by thi* 
neck, until he wa.s deader than a clam. It was 
consolin;.,^ to learn that the punishment tit the 
crime, and had the desired elYeci, for thereafter 
he treated his family with much kindness, 
even permittinj; his wife to have one more 
breadth of calico in her dress. You mijiht not 
think it, hut 1 tell you truly, that sly old repro- 
bate tried every plan imaginable to find out who 
the party was that done him up — even it was 
thought to hiring a detective but we laid awful- 
ly low and never mentioned the episode only 
when we were together ourselves.- 

So anxious were we to ascertain if he even 
suspected the real culprits, one day a year or 
more after the occurrence, while Wellstock and 
three or four of the actors in the comedy were 
heli)ing (Jrandfather Ward to plant corn, I was 
detailed to sound the old man and see if he had 
any suspicions of us. So after dinner Wellstock 
and several others of the hands went out in the 
orchard as was our custom, and sat down in the 
shade of a giant apple tree to enjoy our pipes 
and rest until time to go to work. I lighted my 
pipe and .sat down near Wellstock and very cau 









Reminiscences of the Mississincwa Country 147 

tiously tried to draw liiin out (Hi the subject of 
mol).s, riots, etc., but he was wary. I finally led 
liim to remark, "There arc some very bad people 
in this eoiintry that oLi/^''ht to \n- in the peneten- 

'Jliis was my opjjorlunity. "Oh yefi" said I, 
in a very careless olT hand manner; "it seems to 
me that I heard somethin.q" aljout a lot of ruffians 
throwing- stones or clods or somethin^^ of the kind 
at you a year or two a^a). " Here's where I made 
my mistake. Don 't you think that old fox turned 
on me as (|uick as a flash, and lookin*^ me square 
in the eye, in a very low and menacing- tone re- 
plied, "Ah, ha! the mink is not always asleep." 
For one brief moment I felt the very earth g-iving 
away beneath me, and I prayed for mountains 
and rocks to hide me. If ever a guilty wretch 
showed undoubted guilt on being accused, I most 
certainly showed it on that occasion. 

The shock was so sudden, so unexpected, 
that it just simply paralyzed. I finally murmured 
in a kind of far off graveyard tone of voice, "Yes, 
I guess he is. " As soon as my blood began to cir- 
culate again, I got up and sneaked off, leaving 
Wellstock master of the situation. I went to the 
other boys who were anxiously awaiting the re- 
sult of the conference, and said "Boys, the old 
devil is on to us dead sure; and now be careful to 
never, by word, sign, gesture, hint, wink or blink, 
give him the remotest clew, or we are g'oners. " 
The injunction was heeded; and as Wellstock has 
long since deceased and gone to — well I don't 
care to say where — and the statute of limitation 
has expired, I tell the story, for the editication of 

14fi Reminiitcences of the Atississiney^'a Country 

those wlio lau^l), and a warninj^^ to the inhuman 
wretch who beats and starves his wife and help 
less little cliildren. 

Why, Oh why is it that I am forced to a sad re 
flection at the very tinale of this ludicrous comedy, 
l)y bein«(^ reminded of the eij^ht jolly boys, in the 
very heyday of youn^ manhood, in that nij^''ht's 
adventure only three are left. The writer beinj^ 
one, and as Tom L. Addin},'^ton and Joel Ward 
mij^rlit not care to have their names connected 
with that nij^-ht's episode, I will not say who the 
other two were. However, since writinjf the 
above. I asked Tom if I should mention his name 
in telling: the story. Tom replied. ''Mention my 
name? Of course mention it and put it in great 
big bold letters for there is no transaction of my 
past life I am prouder of than helping to egg 
Wellstoclf. '■ Now iti conclusion I have no doubt 
there will l>e .some adverse criticism; some will 
say, we were no more nor less than a mob of 
lawbreakers, white cappers, etc., and agree with 
Wellstock that we ought to be in the i)eniten- 
tiary. But gentle reader, reflect; we did not 
have the advantages of education we have today; 
we had no big three-story brick college like we 
have in Ridgcville, nor three or four churches 
with their retining influence. We may have been 
somewhat rude and uncultured, and perhaps we 
wouldn't do the like now; maybe we wouldn't; 
yes maybe not; but then again, maybe. But we 
grant your riyht to criticise, so pitch in and 
spare not. 

When Wellstock appears at the gate of St. 
Peter, the following scene and diaglogue will 

Rerniniscencea of the MiHHiHsinewa Country 149 

probably occur: 

St. Peter. Wlio art tli(ju and Irom whence 

Wei l.stock. -Your lieverence, I am Well- 
stock, and hail from Indiana. 

St. IV What! Not old Johnny Wellstock 
froiu Kidf^cville. 

W. The same your reverence, and T seek en- 
trance and a liarp. 

St. P. Well! well! Wellstock, and you seek 
entrance here. Is there Jio limit to that Eng- 
lish word "jjfall"? 

St. P. {to an Imp) -Go and summon His Sa- 
tanic Majesty to our presence immediately. 
{exit Imp.) 

St. P. — So you are Wellstock from Ridge- 
ville; we will look at the books. Ah! yes; we 
have you on our list. 1 see among- your many 
virtues that, you starved your wife and little 

W. — Your Reverence, that was done on 
hygienic principles. You know that gluttony is 
forbidden; and if children are permitted to eat at 
all times they will make themselves sick. 

St. P. — Yes, I see. You also sold rhubarb 
juice for wine with enough alcohol in it to pro- 
duce drunkeness; how's thatV 

W. — On the same principle, Your Reverence. 
You see people will get drunk on some kind of 
drink, and I sold them a cathartic and a plain 
drunk at the same price. 

St. P. — Ah, ha! I see. I notice you used a 
wagon whip to compel your poor wife to perform 
a task vou should have done vourself; was this 

/.50 Reminiscences nf the Mississinem-a Country 

on liy^ienic ])rinciples also? 

\V.- Tliorein I may have erred. Your Uev- 
erence, but if so, that sin I have fully expiated, 
if you will remember; some evil disposed persons 
from the villaf^e hearin^,^ of that mistake, came 
in the dead hour of nij,^ht to my ])eaceful abode 
and callinf^ me forth, did salute me in a manner 
I fain would have forj^'^otten. But alas! The 
odor of that terrible experience clinjjfs to me un- 
til this present hour. 

St. P.— Yes, I see many more of your virtues 
herein recorded, but here comes His Satanic 
Majesty. {Enter Satan.) 

Satan — Your Reverence sent for me; I am at 
3'our service. 

St. P.— Your is commendable. 
Indeed, I notice that you are generally present 
when you can be of service to mankind here or 
there, but tell me: has your Majesty anywhere in 
your broad domain a corner or nook as 'twere 
that the caloric is kept up with natural j^^as in 
lieu of brimstone, if so tell me. We have here 
one Wellstock from Indiana, whom I would fain 
turn over to your tender mercy. 

Satan Such a place I have, your Reverence, 
but it is peopled with who would make 
a terrible kick', antl j^ive much trouble if com- 
pelled to as.sociate with Wellstock. 

St. P. — I marvel not, that there may be 
those who would scorn to a.ssociate with such as 
he. but tell us who your blue blood may be that 
your Majesty holds in such liij^h esteem. 

Satan — First your Reverence, we have in our 
select circle, the renowned ('apt. Wir/, who 

Retnini.HcenceM ()/ /III Mississinewa Country I "i I 

starved and murdered defenceless Union prison- 
ers at Andersonville dnrinj^' the Civil War. Sec- 
ond we liave the famous or rather infamous trai- 
tor Benedict Arnoi<l who tried to l>etray his country 
lor British ij^old. 'J^hird we have that ne plus 
ultra of ('iieinists. Mademoiselle Lucretia Horj^ia 
who was such an adept in the preparation of 
various poisons, that in simply experimentin*^ 
with her mixtures, she caused the death of many 
noble people, anion^' them her husband and 
brother. Kourth we li.ive also a •^•entleman who 
became famous tlnou;^!! a musical feat, i. e. he 
sat on a beer kej^" and played Fisher's Handspike 
on a liddle while Rome howled, or rather the 
do^s of Ivome howled; the {gentleman is histori- 
cally known as Nero, and many more of like ilk 
we have who would refuse to associate with 

St. P. — Well, here is a dilemma indeed; he 
cannot enter here, and i^' you have no place for 
such as he what can be done? 

Imp of Satan. If your Keverence and 
Majesty will permit an humble imp to sug-gest I 
can arranyfe it satisfactorily. 

Satan and St. P. Speek freely noble Imp. 
Imp of Satan. It is this, your Reverence 
and Majesty, kick Wellstock out and lei him re- 
turn to earth and become a base ball umpire. 

St. P. and Satau(/n c/ion;s.) Well said Noble 
Imp, and much we thank thee; it shall be done. 
{Exuent severally. Imp in rear of Wellstock.) 

Reader, do you think we have painted the 
devil blacker than he really is? If you do, ijo and 
ask his old heart-crushed and stone blind wife or 
widow who lives yet within a half days journev 
of Ridg-eville. 

l>liH]H^AC!h] TO OIJ) Sh7ITLEliS Uend It. 

Well do L k'now lliat in some cases at least, 
your subscriptions have Ijeen f,'"iven more as a 
compliment to my fidelity to Old Settlers, to 
Rid<^eville and the Mississinewa than for the in- 
trinsic value of the Boole for which, thanks. 
And I hope I will not be charg"ed with favoritism 
because I have praised the few and left the many, 
and the reader should remember this is not a 
History of Old Settlers, but of Old Settlers' 
Meetings and sorry am I that many of the 
worthy will be left out because I can neither re- 
member them nor <:fet their names. So with 
charity for all and malice toward none, with no 
enemies to punish but a ley^ion of friends to re- 
ward, it is up to you, j^entle reader. 



To Levi James, an Old Settler of Jay and 
R.indolpli Counties, belon{,^•^ the honor of havinjj 
or^rinated and successfully nianaj^ed tlie first Old 
Settlers' Meetinj^ of Randolph and .Jay Counties 
held in the little Studebaker (irove east of Wal- 
nut Street in the town of Rid«,a'ville, Ind. 

After having considered the idea for some 
time Squire James counselled with many of the 
older citizens of Rid^^eville, Portland. Winches- 
ter, Union City, and surroundinj^ country, and 
was f^^ratitied to learn that almost everybody 
favored the meetinjf. 

Esq. James, with the writer, Joseph Day, 
J. B, Hiiler, and others, met at the News Oftice, 
the Office of the Ridj,'^eville News, then edited by 
Joseph Day, and at that time and place the tirst 
Old Settlers' Meeting was launched. Mr. Day 
g"ave it wide circulation throui^h the C()lumns of 
the News and Esq. James, at his own expense, 
had hand bills i)rinted and circulated over the 
country, and Old Settlers Meetinjj;^ was on. 

As stated, the meeting;" was held in the little 
Studebaker Grove in Scptemljer, iSMfi. The 
meeting" was called to order and on motion of 
Samuel Ginj^^er, Levi James was elected perma- 
nent President. Jo.seph Day was elected Secre- 
tary. Albert Collins tells me the music for the 
occasion was furnished by the Deertield Rrass 
Hand, which at that time was made nj) of Ihe 

Old Settlers' Meetings 1.5.5 


Leader, Thelix Cool D. S. Collins 

Frank Collins Frank Sipe 

Dell Sipe Albert Collins 

Amos Collins Theodore Barret 

John Sipe G. M. Wall 

John Q. Fierce Wm. Thompson 

I can only recall a few of the old peoi)le pres- 
ent that day. Anionj.,'' them were KoV)t. Huey, of 
Portland, John Colson, of Mt. Pleasant, Jose])!! 
Coons, Powers, Robt. Collins, Deerfield, Henry 
Jerry and Isaac HulTman, Isaac Underwood, of 
Pennville, Obadiali Hall all these and others I 
have forg"ottt;n told of the trials and hardships 
attendinjj^ the settling of a new country. There 
were some very laiig'hable, as well as sad and 
serious stories told by those pioneer men and 
women at that first Old Settlers' Meetinj^, and 
we would like very much to {^ive some of them at 
least; but remember, "^'entle reader, that eig'hteen 
long years have rolled by since then and a man 
who was on the shady side of fifty then, is con- 
siderable older at the present time, and with a 
memory never any too good, it would not be 
strange if he should forget the stories told by 
these good old men and women of the long ago, 
the most of whom have passed that undiscovered 
Bourne from whence no traveler has ever yet re- 
turned, howsoever we might wish to believe the 

Again we will have to remind the reader 
that in writing an account of this first Old Set- 
tlers meeting we will be compelled to rely on the 
memory of younger people who were there and it 
is possible that in some instances I may be mis- 

7.56 Old Setflers' Mevlin^s 

k*d; but if such should l>e the case no possible 
liarin can result from such mistake. We are i^o- 
iii.14 to try to (^ive the names of all the men, 
women and children who attended that tirst 
meeting,'" of Old Settlers in the Studebaki-r Grove 
and if your name does not appear in the list and 
you were there, it will be no fault of ours for we 
have asked throu^'-h the Kidf^-^eville News, will 
ask throuf^h others and in many other ways try 
to get the names of all the i)eople who were 
there, and now with this exj)lanation we will re- 
turn and wind up that tirst. and of course the 
most important of any of the seventeen that 
have been held since. 

After the meetinjr had been or^janized and 
the Hand had played a few choice pieces and some 
routine business had been transacted, the meet- 
inj4 was adjourned until 1:00 o'clock P. M., while 
the peo}ile who always come with their baskets 
tilled to the brim with the ;^^ood and healthy food 
of which we are proud to say, this part of the 
good old State of Indiana has always an abun 
dance and to spare, while the good old mothers 
spread the shining white table cloths on the 
grass under the shade of the beautiful hickory 
and elm trees that still adorn the little park. 
The youngsters brought l)uckets full of the pure 
and cool water that abounded in our town and in 
much le.s3 time than it takes to tell it, all were 
enj(jying a meal that was relished all the better 
by being spread in the grove. 

At 1 o'clock the meeting was called to or- 
der by President James and after two or three 
pieces of music were played by the Deerfield 

Old Scalers' AJeclin^s 7.5 7 

Hand tallcs from tlie old settlers were aj^'aih 
called for and after Kobt. Iluey and .lolni C!olson, 
spolcen of above, Uncle Joe Coons, Henry, Jerry 
and Thos. Huff man, Abe Uoe, and several others 
of the old pioneers whose names I cannot remem- 
ber, but may call to mind later on, told of the 
terrible hardships and privations endured by 
them. The cutting'' out of roads, felling timber, 
clearing the land, buildinj^- loj^ cabins and many, 
very many other tryinyf hardships were always to 
be encountered in settlin;^'" in a new country, espec- 
ially if it be a howlin<>" wilderness as this country 
was sixty to eij^hty years aj^o when those heroic 
men and women, then in the ver^^ prime of manhood 
and womanhood, fearlessly i)lunj^''ed into the for- 
est intent on subduing- it and building up homes; 
and where their few scattering neighbors were 
always sure of a cordial welcome when they 
could s})are the time to call. With only a hand- 
ful of household goods, the ever trusty rifle and 
coon dog, with the ax and iron wedge and a 
few other things absolutely necessary in the 
building up of a new country and adding to these 
willing hearts and read}^ hands, they stood read}' 
to literally keep the wolf from the door, for the 
wolf with all his ferocious and thieving instincts 
was right here among them and it kept the set- 
tlers constantly on the lookout to keep the 
brutes from carrying away the lambs, pigs or 
chickens and indeed at certain times of the year 
when a pack of them were together, the jieople 
themselves were in danger and it was rare in- 
deed when the settler left home to be absent any 
length of time that he did not take his gun or ax 

158 Old Settlers' Meetings 

or both of them to j^aiard liimself ajifainst the at- 
tacks of the prowling wolves. 

Only a few j'ears before the writer settled in 
Kidj^eville fifty years ai^'^o I have listened to the 
howl of the wolf and scream of the jwnther with- 
in twenty miles of Ridjjeville, and before we 
wind up this first Old Settlers' Meeting I will 
ask the reader's indulgence while we moralize 
just a little bit. Do the younger and middle- 
aged realize what those old settlers have done 
and endured for usV I fear not. Many a time 
and oft have I wished that I could call some of 
those old pioneers, that passed away forty or 
fifty years ago, back if only for a day and let 
them behold the wonderful change that has been 
wrought within a half century or less time; how 
would it look to them to see Oily Carpenter or 
Arty Lay or Joseph T. Lay, an old gentleman 
three score and fifteen, .scorching u]i and down 
the street in their autos at a speed of a mile a 
minute on a good graveled road; on the same 
road, too, where they were glad at .some seasons 
of the year to strike a Toll Bridge or Corduroy 
as they were usually called at that time, why 
they could scarcely believe what they saw with 
their own eyes. 

I just happen to remember an incident that 
occured a few days before Old Settlers' Meeting 
two years ago. I met Uncle Joe Coons on the 
street and after a cordial handshake I said to 
him, "Well. Uncle Joe, we are getting old'", and 
he replied, "You are, Sam, I am already there." 
It was so aj)t I will never forget it though at 
three score and twelve. 

Old Sellk-rs ' Mi-clinjjH 


I don't consider myself a spring,'' chicken by 
any means, hut Uncle Joe is nearin;^- or has 
passed his ninetietli miU'-stone whicli justifies 
the com])arison at least, liut why speak of the 
im])ossil)le when we see on every side of us the 
stern realities of life, 

I often wonder if T am ri{,^ht when I declare 
that the man who has lived throu{,^h the last tifty 
years has lived in the g-reatest half century that 
has ever i)assed or will ever come. I know there 
are people who differ with me, but just one 
argument on our side and I will leave it (i. e.) 
where is the room — it seems to me that the air is 
the only element in which we can improve on 
and now after this somewhat prolonj^^ed di«icres- 
sion we will proceed to let the curtain dro]) on 
this first scene of Old Settlers' Meeting. 

Names of those who were at first Old Set- 
tlers' Meetin}^- of Randolph and Jay Counties in 
Studebaker drove at Ridoeville, Ind., Sept. 1886: 

Thomas Silvers and wife 
George Gegner and wife 
J. B. Hiller and wife 
A. J. Wood and wife 
Joseph Coons and wife 
James North and wife 
George Lemaux Sr, and wife 
Wm Lemaux and wife 
Fin Studebaker and wife 
Joel Ward and wife 
Joseph Newton and wife 
Alfred Sims and wife 
Joseph McKew and wife 
John Wilmore and wife 
Simp Hall and wife 
Jolin Fraze and wife 
Joe Carier and wife 

Elizabeth Waltz 

Frank Brain 

Wm. Gause 

Thomas Kolp 

Mother Kolp 

Gene Myers 

Joab Ward 

Almira Mc Kew 

George Lemaux Jr. 

Mat Jelisou, City Marshal 

Garrin Stephens 

Joseph Stephens 

John B. Sipe 

Benjamin Clevenger 

W. E. Thompson 

George T. Newton 

N. W. Ferguson 


Old Settlers' Meetings 

Thos. Mc Gee and wife 
John Retter and wife 
I. N. Stratton and wife 
John Stephens and wife 
James Stephens and wife 
Adam Hcnisc and wife 
Wm. Edwards and wife 
Win. Green and wife 
Benj. Addinjiton and wife 
Abel Armstrong and wife 
Mrs. Edith Clapp 
Charles Jones 
John Renbargcr 
Dave Champ 
Emerson Baily and wife 
Ezra Miligan and wife 
Malon Russle and wife 
Dan Braden and wife 
Dr. Farquahr and wife 
M. R. Hiatt and wife 
Rube Miller and wife 
Adam Schlotzhauer and wife 
Mrs. Sarah Champ 
Miss Sally Champ 
Wm. Champ and wife 
Jacob Ayers and wife 
Charley Barrett and wife 
Nicholas Sipe and wife 
Cal Barrett and wife 

Douglass Jones 
Lafe Elliot 

Thomas Riddlebarger 
Wm. McCurdy 
Jesse Elliot 
Rol>ert Collins 
Wm. Montoniey 
Isaac Whiteneck 
Obadiah Hall 
Wash Pcttijohn 
Angy Brooking 
Frank Brooking 
Nal Sumption 
Wm. Addington 
Arty Lay 
Samuel Lay 
Arthur Myers 
Joseph Day, 1st Secretary 
Wes Kolp 
Tom L. Addington 
Joe Landwich 
Riley Wise 
Mrs. Eva Wright 
Cash Bundy 
D. G. Keunear 
Arch McFarland 
Billy Bradon 
John Champ 
Aaron B. Sipe and wife 

The foUowinj^ have never missed a meetinj,': 

Jesse Elliot Ollie Carpenter 

I. N. Stratton Douglass Jones 

Cash Bundy Nal Sumption 

Adam Henise Benj. Addington 

George Gegner and wife Oscar Fraze 

Cal Barrett and wife Aaron B. Sipe and wife 

Charley Barrett and wife 
Tt is not our intention, nor would it be protit 
able, to taki' up culi nieetinj^^ .separately and 
descril)e it, for to do so would retpiire a book as 

Old SeHU'r.H' MceUnji.H 161 

lar!:!fe as Webster's unabridged, and for other 
reasons. I*"'irst, where a record was kept it lias 
been h)st or destroyed in most cases and mcMnory 
is our only j^uide, and at tliat it is tlie unpara^ 
lelled ^n-owth of these meetint^s from tlie huinble 
be^innin<^" of a handful of citi/t-ns to the stupen- 
dous crowds tliat we have today that the read- 
er would rather be told of. 

Before the first meeting' adjourned it was 
unanimously resolved that we meet again at the 
same thne and place the following year. Levi 
James was again elected president and Joab 
Ward made Secretary. Everybody departed in 
high good humor and resolved that they come 
next year and bring their friends and neighbors. 

At the next meeting- in the little grove about 
the same programme was carried out, but the 
attendance had increased fully three-fold. I 
can't remember who furnished the music for the 
occasion, but music we had, no doubt, for there 
has never been a meeting at which we did not 
have a band sometimes a brass band and some 
times the drum and life and on most all occasions 
we have had excellent vocal music as stated 

This second meeting was a repetition of the 
first. A few of the old settlers had fallen b}' the 
wayside, but ten or more had taken their places. 
After music and talks by the Old Settlers, the 
meeting adjourned for dinner until one o'clock 
P. M. At that hour the meeting was again called 
to order by President James who stated in a 
brief speech that if our numbers increased at the 
present rate we would soon have to get a larger 

162 Old Settlers' Mcctin£s 

j^Tove. but after some discussion, it was resolved 
to hold at least one more meetinj^ in the Stude- 
l)al\er Grove. Levi James was for the third time 
elfcted president and .loe Kd^^er, Secretary, after 
which the meetin<^ adjourned to meet attain at 
the same time and place the foll<»win}^ year, 

At the third meetinj^'^ it was seen at once that 
we would have to find another i)lace to hold our 
next meetinj;^ as the people could not all g'et into 
the grounds and after the usual routine, such as 
music by the Hand and some vocal music, inter- 
sj)ersed with talks by the Old Settlers, I^evi 
.lames was again elected president for the fourth 
time, and by a vote of the meeting it was settled 
that the next meeting be held in the John Caylor 
Grove near the College at the same time the year 

At this, the fourth meeting. Levi James 
presiding, it was noticed that there was 
a growing reluctance of the Old Settlers 
to get up and repeat the same stories of 
pioneer life they had told time and again, and by 
a vote President James was instructed to procure 
a speaker to do the main part of the talking at 
our next Old Settlers' Meeting in the same crove 
the next year. The time in the months of Au- 
gust or September was to be fixed and adver- 
tised by the president. Levi James again suc- 
ceeded himself for president. Now I think we 
met in the Caylor (Jrove two or three times, Ks(|. 
.lames ])residing. Then about this time some of 
our enter|)rising citizens conceived the idea of 
damming the old river bed and forming a lake 
and renting, ten acres of the beautiful sugar 


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Old Sot lifts' Mevlinjin lf>i 

grove at llw laU'<- sidi- lii-loiij^in;^ to I'^linira 
McKew vvlu-re wc woiihi liavc elbow room f(jr 
our cominfi: Old Scttk-rs' Mcelinj^'-K, baseball, [)ic- 
iiics, shootinj^'" raiij^'^c, race track, etc. This 
movement was carried out to perieetioii. 'I'jie 
larj^e I'oclc was blasted and removed Iroin the 
old river bed, a substantial dam was built near 
where the old McKew dam stood, a neat and sul) 
stantial j^'rand stand built in the park, a never- 
failinj^' well of pui-est \\ atcr was drilled, a splen- 
did ball diamond and park was added, a fine race 
track for a half mjle course was l)rou^ht to per- 
fection on additional land rented of Mrs. McKew, 
a fjfrand tob()i^<4an slide erected on the north side 
of the lake, and many other attractions were 
added to beautify the grounds and to please the 
visitors who may come to see us and it is conced- 
ed on all sides that today we have the most 
pleasinj^j' and attractive pleasure resort in east- 
ern Indiana and where all our Old Settlers' Meet 
injjfs have been held except the five or six held in 
the Studebaker and Cay lor g"roves. 

To whom belongs the honor of first suggest- 
ing- the forming' of the lake is almost impossible 
to settle at this late date, as it is claimed by 
three or four dilTerent people; but I am informed 
by one of the park directors that Asa Orcutt had 
been advocating* the plan for at least two years 
before it was begun. Certain it is that Georg^e 
Frederick. Koe Kitselman. Tom Connor, Jesse 
Shrofe, Faj^ Kitselman, S. S. Shambaugh and 
others put their heads together and resolved the 
work be done, and so it was. 

Now you have it as I get it from the best 


Oil! Settlers' Meetings 

source obtainable and you can take your choice. 
Llliarley Ptltijolin had the tirst boat on the lake. 
Anu)!)}^ those takiniij an active part in the enter 
prise I can recollect the followinf^ only, althouj^'^h 
I well know there were others just at worthy of 
mention in l)uildin|f uj) our beautiful pleasure re- 

Luther Hawthorne 
Alva Kitselinan 
Tom Conor 
Jess Shrofe 
Roe Kitselman 
O. A. White 
John Frederick 
Thos. Graham 
Aca Orcutt 
Mate Kitselman 
J. B. Hiller 
Ed Hiatt 
Ben McCartney 
John Kinney 
Lew Barger 
Jacob Myers 
Amos Brooking 
Joab Ward 
Rob McKcw 
Frank Wright 
John Wright 
John Collins 
Abe Brown 
Lige Page 
Hale Hollowell 
Wcldcn Allen 
Bow Winner 
Joe Carrier 
Ves Addington 
Charley Cadwallader 
Thos. P'owler 
Hd. Cadwallader 

Wm. Lemaux 
John Stanton 
Doe Barber 
S. S. Shambaugh 
Laselle Bailey 
Charley Ward 
Henry Rupe 
Font Locke 
Robt. Miller 
Steve Day 
Henry Rupe 
Bert Baughn 
Lew Cook 
Charley Fisher 
Jason Baughn 
Wm. Landwich 
Sam Summers 
Harry Ames 
Ora Scaney 
Verne Baily 
Bud Edwards 
Tom Devor 
John Armstrong 
Charley Barrett 
Frank Addington 
Ol Blackab>ce 
George Fisher 
Del Barger 
John McFarland Sr. 
John McFarland Jr. 
D. C. Edwards 
Ell Fraze 

Old Sclilcrs ' Mcchnji>s 


John Sipe 
Jack Mock 
Lot Petlijohn 
Elmer Huffman 
Jack Shepman 
Albert Mann 
A. J. Wood 
Thos. Addington 
Oscar Fraze 
Tom L. Addin^^ton 
Mat Jelison 
Sam Curry 
Net Ferguson 
Wm. Ward 
Dave McFarland 
George Gegner 
Oscar Cook 
J. I. Hoke. 
Fay Kitselman 

J<)liii Demint 
James Dewitf 
Ham McFarland 
Wm. Ed)<er 
Malon Kussle 
I'"" rank Hawkins 
Charley ShillinjJ 
Claude Barjier 
Otho Addin>>ton 
George Lcmaux Jr. 
1. N. Strattou 
Joe Landwich 
Wilson Rupe 
Henry Schlotzhauer 
Emerson Baily 
Ezra Miliigan 
David Dcvor 
John Arthur 
Geo. Frederick 

Theodore Shilling 

And every youtli and boy in town who could 
drive a s\n\ni nail besides many others who were 
juet as active and whose names are as wortliy of 
record here as those above but whose names I 
cannot recollect, nor g^et, even with the help of 
many of my neighbors. 

Now, I am not sure, but think Levi James 
was president of the first meeting held in the 
Riverside Parle. O. A. White was probably sec- 
retary as he served in that capacity several times. 
Judge John Smith of Portand, Ja}' Co.. delivered 
the chief oration to a crowd of six to eight thous- 
and. Phil. Frederick was elected president and 
Sam Ging'er vice-president for the ensuing year. 

At this meeting the attendance had increased 
to ten thousand. At the conclusion of this meet- 
ing it was suggested by the Vice-President that 

166 Old Svtflvrs' Mwlings 

j'ounj^er men should he at the head of these meet- 
inj^s, and tliat the Vice President should be 
chosen from .lay County, and on motion of Sam 
CJinj,'"er, (Jeorj^'^e Lemaux, .Jr., was elected Presi- 
dent and Dr. Cleory^e Shepard, of Red key, Jay 
Co., Vice-President; Secretary not remembered, 
and from this time Old Settlers meetin;^ was on 
the boom. President Ijemaux was out to please 
the people. Hon. Theodore Shockney was en- 
j^'-aped to deliver the address, which it is needless 
to say, he did to a Queen's taste as well as the 
peo]iles'. Premiums of canes and rockers offered 
to the oldest man and woman present. A {^rand 
display of tire works was sent up in the evening" 
and alto}.cether the ten thousand or more people 
were deli^'^hted. On motion of Sam Ginj,^er, 
George Lemaux, .Jr., was a'jfain elected President 
and George Shepard. of .Fay County, continued 
as Vice-President. 

And to not tire the reader witji re])etition will 
say that George Lemaux, .Ir. , held the office of 
President consecutively for six or seven years 
with Mr. McGlauthlin, of .lay Co , Vice President 
for two or three terms. J. H. Hiller, A. O. White, 
and Earl Cable and others alternating as Secre- 
tary. President Lemaux believed in having the 
best of everything obtainable. Among the high 
class speakers were O. A. Marsh, .lohn L. Griff- 
eth. Gov. Mount, Senator Fairbanks, .ludge L. 
Monks, Hon. Theo. Shockney. .ludge Macy, 1. P. 
Watt, and others. 

Presents of canes, chairs, etc.. were given the 
oldest men and women. Ralloon ascensions with 
l)arachute leaps. The always popular merry-go- 

Old ScHU'is' Meetings 107 

round. Sliows {^-alore and many oIIkt attractions 
were always on hand to tnitcrtain (jur visitors. 
In a word, under (j!eor<4'c Jrs. administration, Old 
Settlers }4"rew and j^rew until the attendance 
reached the astonish inj^^ fif^ures of eif^'hteen to 
twenty thousand, and instead of a mere local 
meetin;^' of the two counties it became of national 
fame and jteople from many ditTerent states are 
reg'ular attendants. 

There came a time when Georjje Lemaux 
moved his business and residence to Indianaj^olis 
and we had to have a new President. Kd. Hiatl, 
after much persuasion, consented to serve for one 
year, at least he was nominated by Sam Ginj^er. 
and unanimously, elected. Prank Braden, of 
Portland, was ag'ain elected Vice-President and 
Earl Coble, Secretary. I wish to say rig"ht here 
that the President of Old Settlers has no easy job 
on his hands and the people owe him a del)t <>f 
^^ratitude they can never repay. 

To those who know Ed. Hiatt it is needless 
to say we made no mistake when we elected him 
President, and as Georg^e Lemaux had U. S, Sen- 
ator Fairbanks to be the orator at his farewell 
meeting, E]d, not to be left in the rear, after a 
heap of trouble and some expense to himself, se- 
cured Senator Albert J. Beverage to do the talk- 
ing at his tirst meeting. To say that Senator 
Beverage delivered one of the most eloquent Old 
Settlers' orations ever heard in the parlc is put- 
ting it mild indeed. The attendance at this meet- 
ing rivaled any of the previous ones and was 
variously estimated at twenty to twenty-tive 
thousand. It may be said that if George was a 

/6.S Old Seiners' Meetings 

hustler, Kd was a rustler, and they both did their 
w hole duty and deserved the success with which 
their efforts were crowned. 

At this meetintj one of the novel attractions 
was an old fashioned s«iuirrel pot pie (witii con- 
siderable beef and chicken in the pie) served to 
all the men and women who had reached or 
passed sad four score. About one hundred old 
folks partook of the dinner. 

Samuel Ginger, the (jldest settler of Ividge- 
ville, illustrated the great improvement in tire- 
arms by loading and tiring a Mint h)ck rille more 
than one hundrecl years old and had formerly be- 
longed to President Hiatt's grandfather. 

The people were delighted to see on the plat- 
form an old gentleman nearl}' one hundred years 
old, dre.s.sed in Colonial style — cocked hat, knee 
breeches, etc. The old gentleman was present- 
ed with a tine gold headed cane by Judge O. A. 
Marsh at the conclusion of the meeting. He was 
McCIain Elliot, formerly of West Virginia. The 
visitors were treated to a splendid athletic and 
acrobatic entertainment in town at night. VA 
Hiatt was again put in nomination for president 
by Samuel Ginger; Frank Braden of Jay County 
for vice-president and Karle Coble secretary. 
They were all unanimously elected. 

This brings us down to the last meeting held 
in Riverside Park, Aug. 1"^. l'Jii4, Ed Hiatt i)re- 
siding. Hefore de.scribing it 1 will explain that 
the park, lake and other belongings are and 
have been controlled by a jjark l)oard consisting 
of seven directors. The Board at the present time 
consists of the following represenlativti business 

Old Set I lets ' Mec'iin/is 1 

men of our town: President, Thomas Oraliam, 
Vice-President, Louis Barj^-er, Sec, N. W. P'er- 
g-uson, Treas., Waldo lioiinf^'^er, Directors, Adam 
Henise, Wm. Edwards and J. J. Hol^e and while 
it mif^ht be said the Board has not at all times 
pleased everybody (a moral impossibility) it 
should be remembered that tliese g^entlemen 
serve without compensation and deserve the 
hearty cooperation of all the people, especially 
the Old Settlers, instead of the kick that is ever 
too ready to be given; at least that is our way 
of looking at it. 

President Hiatt had made arrang^ements for 
the greatest crowd that had ever been on the 
grounds, but the day was ushered in Vjy a down- 
pour of rain which kept fully one-half the people 

The Kitselman Brothers of Muncie sent a 
special train bearing near a thousand with the 
Muncie Band and police force wiiile all the four 
roads entering town had special rates and if the 
morning had been as fine as the P. M. the atten- 
dance would have been the greatest ever. 
While I may be accused of tossing bouquets with 
a reckless hand, I will digress enough to say that 
Alva Kitselman was the man behind the gun, 
and probably did more for the benetit of the park 
than any one man. Just shortly before he left 
here he sent oft" and got more than one hundred 
evergreen trees to be set along the lake bank 
and in the park and detailed the writer to plant 
the trees where they would do the most good. 
He told me to select two of his best hands to do 
the work. I got Lash Mock who is equal to two 

7 70 Olil Settlers' Mevtitifia 

ordinary nifii (another hou(|uet, seel) and Oeorj^e 
Fisher, a g"oo(l second, and in less than a day the 
trees were all j)lanted. Alva said if we \fot one 
in five to jifrow we would do extremely well as 
the trees arrived in bad condition. Nine out of 
ten !4"rew and are j^rowinj^^ today, and in a few 
years will be a j.,'"reat addition to our already 
beautiful lake which will be a standinj^" tribute 
to the jirenerosity of A. L. Kitselman and the 
genius of yours truly, Sam (Jinj^jer (bou(|uets cost 
nothinj^- why not hand 'em outj. 

Returnint,^ to the last Old Settlers' Meetinj,^, 
Pres. Hiatt had secured for speakers, Gov. Dur- 
bin, of Anderson and Rev. Aaron Worth, of 
Bryant, who were listened to with rapt at- 
tention by the larjje audience who ^'"reeled them. 
The Ridf^eville l?and, Jack Smiley's Indian 
Sheep skin Hand, the Muncie Indiana State Band, 
the Ladies Band, of Indiana]K>lis, and the Rid^e- 
ville Quartette consistinj^" of John Collett, Dr. B. 
F. Freeman, Orlie Hetster and John Rickard, 
furnished the music at the park and for the even- 
inj.f entertainment a larg^e platform was erected 
at the crossinj;^ of Walnut and Second Streets 
where the Ladies Band, the Muncie Band, in- 
terspersed with vocal music, }.,^ave a hijjfh-class 
musical entertainment lastinj.; till 1(> o'clock 
In addition to these attractions we had 
one of the tinest balloon ascensions and parachute 
leaj)s ever seen on the j.,'"round. As at the last 
meeting a bountiful dinner was served to all the 
old people who had reached four score, .Judge 
A. O. Marsh in his happiest vein of mirth i)re- 
sented a hands<»me gold headed cane to the old 

Old Settlers ' Meetings 1 7 / 

est person present, who proved to be Mrs. Susan 
Kolp. A j^-.'ime of bas»4)all, liidj^i^eville vs. Dun- 
kirk, was (>lay*'(l in the \*. M. and wliat Dun- 
kirk done to weuns was awful (score mum;. 

Samuel Gin}.cer a},''airi nominated Ed Hiatt 
for President. Frank Braden of Portland was 
nominated for Vice-Presidt-nt and Thomas Dever 
for Secretary. On a vote taken each one was 
declared unanimously elected. Althouj.i"li not the 
{^■reatest in attendance it was one of the most 
successful and enjoyable mt'etin^-s held on the 
j^j'rounds, and now you who read this book 
resolve that you will be there at next Old Set- 
lers Meeting. 

And now jjfentle reader our task is done; how 
well done we leave to you; and after sincerely 
thanking every one of you who so o-enerously 
came to my aid with your subscriptions for 
my book and enabled me to g"et out this second 
and enlar^'"ed edition, I will say in the lany"uag"e 
of the immortal Rip Van Winkle "Heres hoping 
you may live long" and prosper." 

Truly yours, 

Sam Ginger. 

I3e-: •